Bad translation or obvious discrimination against Latinos?
I'm not a professional translator, but I've been translating from English to Spanish and vice versa the majority of my professional life as a journalist. Since I am fluent in both languages and I'm a word lover, one of my biggest pet peeves is bad translations. Sadly, I have seen my share of embarrassingly bad translations. These seem to be even more prevalent now that many businesses are starting to realize the need to offer their Latino customers information in their native language.
But the really bad translation I'm about to highlight takes the top prize not only because it's completely wrong, but also because it's insulting, offensive and mostly discriminatory.
If you're bilingual, there's no need for me to explain what the sign in the picture above posted in a Delaware playground says. But if you're not, let me translate for you. The English part of the sign says the following: "Parental or guardian supervision is required for the use of this playground equipment. Play at your own risk."
Here's how that message was translated into Spanish: "You must have a permit to play in this playground. Violators will be subject to police action."
As you can see, these are two very different messages. The English part doesn't make reference to needing a permit nor does it mention anything about violators or police action. What's the deal?
Read more in ¿Qué más?: It's been proven, being bilingual makes you smarter
The craziest part about this whole thing is that it was a very conservative radio talkshow host who noticed the sign and brought it to the attention of the public last week via his personal Facebook page. After that, the photo of the sign above went viral. Good for him for doing the right thing!
The playground with the sign in question belongs to the Milford School District and as soon as the superintendent was notified, she took action to take it down. She claims "there was no intent to discriminate," adding that they have a great relationship with all communities. But the question remains: Was it a bad translation or were they blatantly discriminating against Latinos? You be the judge of that.
Image via Facebook