Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Not Lost But Omitted From Translation

Sitting on the train in Munich yesterday, I payed closer attention than I normally do to the warning notice aimed at dissuading fare dodgers (Schwarzfahrer). I noticed that the text had not been translated in its entirety into the other languages.

[To make it easier to read, I've cut the French and Italian texts from my rather blurry photo and just left you with the original German along with the English translation]


As you can see, in the translation(s), the notice limits itself to stipulating the amount of the fine (€60) you will incur if you are caught without a valid ticket and the legal ramifications. The original German text, however, contains two extra sentences (highlighted by me) which are... how to put this delicately... bordering on the contemptuous:

Whatever reasons you may cite [for not having a valid ticket], there is no excuse which we haven't already heard before. We know them all, and none of them are going to wash with us. 

I wonder why they did not translate this part. It wasn't for lack of space, that's for sure. Were they, perhaps, worried that the condescending tone might ruffle tourists' sensibilities...?


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After publishing this post, a fellow blogger sent me this image, which was part of the 2014 campaign against fare evasion run by the Berlin Transport Company:

"Fare dodgers are getting ever more daring"




6 comments:

  1. Maybe Germans like being condescended to more than the rest of us? I actually think it gives the transport authority a bit of personality though!

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    1. That's another way of looking at it, haha!

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  2. Ha ha! But why!? That's funny to me, the omitted bit : D

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    1. I know... I used to pay attention to adverts, believing them to be entertaining and creative, while ignoring notices on public transport for being dull and overly formal. How wrong I was! ;-)

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  3. Maybe they're afraid if Americans can understand it they'll sue? ;-)

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    1. ...or worse: If the Brits understood it, they'd fall about laughing, creating disorder ;-)

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