Thursday, December 9, 2010
Dear I Don’t Feel Turbulence: You know us Mexicans – throw caution to the wind. We live in this country illegally under the spectre of deportation – and we make it. We live in Mexico under the spectre of the narcos – and we make it. We live in the shadow of El Norte – and we make it. We lived through the tyranny of Cortés, the Spanish crown, Santa Anna, the Porfiriato, PRI, Calderón, Carlos Slim, and the popularity of MASECA – and we make it. Floundering economy on both sides of la frontera? Repeat after me, class: MEXICANS MAKE IT! So, what’s a little ice on the wings, some twisted wires? We still make it. Man, Ma Joad had nothing on us Mexis.An Anglo public servant would be embarrassed to death if he posted a public sign with bad English grammar or spelling. So how come the same doesn’t apply to Spanish in the Estados Unidos? In Las Vegas, the caution signs on the bus doors have three words – recargarse, pararse, empujar – misspelled as recargarce, pararce, enpuja. In the Lowe’s hardware section free cutting service, on a huge letrero is translated “Liberte los Servicios Cortante” which is hilarious gibberish, incomprehensible to a Mexican. Why is it that bad written English is a sign of ignorance or stupidity, but Spanish… ? - El Viejo Profe
Dear Old Professor: You really think it’s a fully bilingual Mexican doing those translations? It’s either a worker pulling something off the Internet, a pocho who doesn’t know any better or, no… a pinche pocho who doesn’t know any better but draws a nice salary fooling clueless, monolingual gabachos into thinking he does. But Mexicans don’t care about mistranslations in trivial areas (unless they’re custodians of Cervantes, in which case they deserve to froth at the boca), and the pochos and their gabacho supervisors don’t know any better – so the mistranslations stay. Laugh, I say! We do!