Friday, March 12


I loved this post from Jacques, a fan & fellow blogger.  I must admit, ,  the €40M fiasco had fallen off my radar, since it was plugged back in.  So, here's Jacques to apprise us of 'where your money went' - Part II:
Italia.IT the renowned (some would say infamous) Italian National Tourism portal, has done it once again.

Even after millions of euros thrown away by the right leaning government before launching it, and by the left leaning one that inherited it -- with almost as many problems and criticisms as euros spent; Even after the modifications to get it in line with the current accessibility laws and to placate the most severe criticisms; and Even after the soon thereafter blackout for another extended period of many many moons, they still haven't found 9 euros* to hire a decent proofreader for the home page in English.

In Italian, the bottom right corner has a menu of site services (Colophon), the first of which (and thus, presumably the most important) is "Collabora", which leads to a page for feedback and suggestions entitled, appropriately "Collabora" [see for yourself].

Now had Ken Kane, my HS freshman year English teacher, seen that glaring error, it would have been an immediate grade off. Were that a final paper, he probably would have refused to move past the front page and gone straight to "F", or made me retype the entire paper from scratch (we didn't have word processors, much less web sites or blogs, way back when).
Were that front page the result of millions and millions of euros of investment and years of effort, well, let's just say that it was a Christian institute, so it probably would have been worse than flogging but better than crucifixion.


*** for the spelling challenged, "partecipate" is the second person plural of the verb "partecipare" - IN THE ITALIAN LANGUAGE.
In English it does NOT exist. The correct word for exhorting people to collaborate with the editorial staff of the portal in English is "Participate".

P.S. note the fantastic attention to detail through beautiful 3-d effects on the drop shadows, but total lack of communication skills by ignoring things like proper English...

Also on the site, I found this jewel of a useful translation, in terms of clarity:

Documenti necessari per guidare in Italia
Le patenti rilasciate da qualsiasi Stato appartenente all'Unione Europea sono valide all'interno di tutto il territorio UE, quindi anche in Italia.
Se si possiede una patente rilasciata da uno Stato non UE è necessario avere un permesso di guida internazionale o una traduzione giurata della propria patente.

In Italian, they state, anyone with a driver's license issued outside the EU needs an int'l driving permit.

Documents required to drive in Italy
Driving licenses issued by any of the EU member states are valid throughout the European Union, including Italy.
Drivers in possession of a license issued by any EU country do not require an international driving permit or a sworn translation of their own license.

Is it just me, or does the English say something quite different (though not contradictory), and much less useful, for someone from outside the EU, who doesn't happen to speak fluent Italian (like a typical foreign tourist)?

How so typically Italian.


Dave514 said...

I suppose you mean a simplified English sentence, "Drivers in possession of a license issued by by an EU country..."


Alex said...

This sort of thing is rife in Italy - spelling mistakes and contorted English are everywhere. More often than not, the English is downright awful - OK, so you expect it from the odd blogger, like me (Piaggio not Piaggo), but not from national government with a huge budget.

Maybe there are only very few people who find dodgy English irritating.

Creates an awful impression IMHO - but maybe I'm just picky...



Michael and Culture Discovery said...

Actually, I think it would be almost more interesting to find a single Italian website, sign, menu, etc. that has a correct translation. Italians seem to do all possible to avoid having native speakers do their translations for them. I've seen terrible mistakes on nationally placed Autogrill signs, in the airports, and just about everywhere. Some of my favorites are the menu that offered 'Grilled Flesh' (for Carne alla griglia). Also, have fin at my local town's website: :-)

Irreverent Italy said...

I LOVE GRILLED FLESH!!! And no, I have never seen it!
After starting Up Your Bottom! a friend suggested I start collecting menus from all over too...
I once translated my fave (upscale) place in Milano, because I simply couldn't cope with things like, 'deformed vegetables' for a sformato...
And, I didn't even get a (translated) Tiramisu for my efforts!!!

Jacques said...

@Alex: I know well that it is anywhere and everywhere, including where there is no reason to provide an English translation but they do it (very poorly) just the same. Almost seemingly as entertainment. But this is the Italian National Tourism site, that is intended primarily for selling "Italy" (as a unified concept, as though that actually existed) as a tourist destination. So one can presume (since Italians are theoretically obligated to attend school past the first basic Italian geography classes) that the main public for this overpriced and overbudgeted site is foreigners, most of which *DO NOT* speak much or any Italian. That is one of the main reasons why I find this example so abhorrent.

Irreverent Italy said...

Jacque - ditto.