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Off topic: blame the translator.... (bad language alert)
Thread poster: Edward Vreeburg

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:37
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Nov 6, 2009

Crown prince gaffes in Mexico speech

http://www.expatica.com/nl/news/dutch-news/Dutch-crown-prince-gaffes-in-Mexico-speech_57875.html

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander unwittingly used a vulgar Spanish expression while speaking at an energy seminar in Mexico City.

Mexico – Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander made a major blunder Thursday in an energy seminar in Mexico City when he used an impolite Spanish phrase and mispronounced it.

The crown prince who was urging his listeners to act against global warming was giving a speech in English when he used the Spanish expression, "camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva al corriente'', (a sleeping shrimp will be washed away by the tide).

Instead of saying al corriente, Willem-Alexander said "a la chingada".

While chingada is part of the daily language in most of South America, it means "got screwed" in Mexican Spanish and is considered vulgar, prompting the audience to burst into laughter.

The speech had been prepared by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, which has since apologised to the prince for putting the wrong words into his mouth.

Willem-Alexander's Argentinian wife, Princess Máxima, was not involved in writing the speech, said the government information service.

The crown prince is in Mexico with Princess Maxima and Queen Beatrix for a five-day state visit.

The Dutch royals have visited an arid region west of Mexico City and spoke to trainees at a college for agricultural technology and water management who are preparing for jobs in their own country, rather than emigrating to find work. Drought is a major cause of Mexican emigration to the neighbouring US.

The royal family will spend their last day visiting the spectacular pyramids of Teotihuacan.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

=====
According to a Dutch Newspaper:
http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/article1312592.ece/Prins_Willem-Alexander_scheldt_in_Mexicaanse_speech

The whole thing was blamed on the Argentinian translator...who appologized for the incident...


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:37
How could this happen? Nov 6, 2009

How could the translator mistake "corriente" with "chingada"? They're no homonyms, letters starting with different alphabets, completely different pronunciations, and I can't come up with any similarity among these two words...

 

NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 10:37
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Inserting a personal comment? Nov 6, 2009

Could the translator have been unable to resist, passive-aggressive style?

 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Was the proofreader asleep at the switch? Nov 6, 2009

Did they have a native Mexican on hand to assist with the proofreading? Or a native Spanish-speaker? The initial mistake is one thing but the fact it got past the proofreader is just as appalling.

[Edited at 2009-11-06 14:56 GMT]


 

Michiel Leeuwenburgh  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:37
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
Tourette? Nov 6, 2009

Is this what happens when a translator or proofreader suffers from Tourette syndrome?

Cheers,
Michiel


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Local Idiom Nov 6, 2009

"Chingada" is not a part of the daily language in South America at all, it is not understood there. It is a Mexican expression, and they should have used a translator familiar with Mexican speech!

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'm terrified Nov 6, 2009

The other day I had a chance to translate a letter from a minister of an EU country to our Spanish minister as part of the red tape for our minister's visit to that country. The kind of situation described here simply terrifies me and I read the letter and had it read some 4 times!

 

Roxanna Delgado  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:37
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Chingada, not only in Mexico! Nov 6, 2009

I used to think, as Henry, that "chingada" was only used in Mexico but I just looked it up in the Larousse and it says "Argentina and Mexico". So apparently the Argentinian translator knew exactly what he/she was writing.
By the way, the correct saying is: Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva LA corriente". Not "AL corriente".


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Chingar in Spain Nov 6, 2009

Just a regional note about Spain: "chingar" also means having sexual intercourse in Spain, but honestly this is the worst slang word in Spain for that. If you are going to "chingar", it is really a very dirty, quick, and potentially unhealthy encounter.

I just wanted to mention that we do get the idea behind "a la chingada" in Spain although we don't use it.

[Edited at 2009-11-06 18:54 GMT]


 

Audra deFalco
United States
Local time: 10:37
Italian to English
+ ...
How? Nov 6, 2009

How did the confusion even happen? They don't even sound remotely similar.

Oh well, at least the audience had a good laugh!


 

Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Mexico
Local time: 09:37
English to Spanish
The Dutch Crown Prince Nov 6, 2009

I, as a Mexican, think the Prince was not wrong at all. A sleeping shrimp will get s****ed if... And that is exactly what is happening to my beautiful country. Remaining asleep, and not swimming with the global tide... Aha, the Prince said it.

It's not a word a Prince should use, that's true, but he didn't lie. (Perhaps he did not use it unwittingly.)

No hurt feelings,
The Mexican.


 

xxxAguas de Mar
Not very princely, but he gave everyone a laugh (including myself)... Nov 6, 2009

Tadzio Carvallo wrote:

I, as a Mexican, think the Prince was not wrong at all. A sleeping shrimp will get s****ed if... And that is exactly what is happening to my beautiful country. Remaining asleep, and not swimming with the global tide... Aha, the Prince said it.

It's not a word a Prince should use, that's true, but he didn't lie. (Perhaps he did not use it unwittingly.)

No hurt feelings,
The Mexican.


And his words caused laughter among his listeners, so I do not think his words were taken as an offense.
Good for the Prince to try to speak Spanish, bad for his translators (someone might be looking for a job at this point).


 

Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:37
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
The Dutch perspective Nov 6, 2009

Hi all,

In this special case crown prince Willem-Alexander can't be blamed for the speech he delivered. He's a on a mission representing the Dutch state and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for this gaffe. Willem-Alexander just read what was written down for him. The man is maried to an Argentinian and, listening to the speach, I don't think he rehearsed much and certainly not in front of his wife, who speaks Spanish and English (and Dutch) without effort.

Regards,
Gerard


 

xxxBrandis
Local time: 16:37
English to German
+ ...
it is in the nature.. Nov 7, 2009

Hi!

Good or bad language translators can hardly be differentiated. Rest being price and pay-cycle and seriousness. many agencies seem to have specialised on certification. I did not need one, just engineering nuts. I do not know how to control the payment part, I was willing to listen to the online invoicing system, but they can not promise any payment either. I know many of us aer facing similar troubles but cannot change things due to border taxation regulations and internet trade. Alle useful comments, criticism and suggestions are welcome. Brandis.


 
Translation "mistake" Dutch Prince Willem-Alexander also/originates in a Mexican 'corrido' song Nov 8, 2009

The other day I produced a documented search on the possible origins of what has been named 'a translator mistake' by main stream media, as Crown Princes themselves are known for never making any mistake, so it could only have been the translator...(sic).

The Dutch journalists went so far in their attempt to minimize the royal embarrassment that they said that "everywhere else in Latin America this word means 'tide' except in Mexico", whereby - one can be stunned by this level of journalism uncontrolled directly from news wire - 'this word' was ''chingada'.

The translation given in subtitles on Dutch television of the word 'chingada' in the oddly twisted Latin American proverb

“Camaron que se duerme se lo lleva la chingada”

originally

“Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente”

was

“een slapende garnaal gaat naar de klote” (a sleeping shrimps goes to the bullocks/balls; has a shitty end).

There are many possible meanings of the word 'chingada', especially in Mexican usage, so the washing away by the tide (roughly) by a powerful surge of the tide, could possibly by expressed with a strong word like 'chingada', analog with an expression like “se lo lleva la chingada” ... I am not an active Spanish speaker so my observations are only tentative.

What I missed totally in all observation on this minor incident that did get a maximal media exposure is the historical and cultural connotation this word has in Mexico. What first came to my mind was the famous essay of Octavio La Paz on "the idea of 'La chingada" in "The labyrinth of solitude" (1950). It is the nickname for 'La Malinche', the indian girl - belong to the nobility - that was given as a present to the conquistadores by a local indian chief who became the first translator between her own language and Maya which was again understood by a Spanish priest in the escort of Cortés, later directly translating to Spanish and at the same time Cortés's concubine. She is seen mostly as a traitor to her own nation, though some historians have another view on this. In short she became known as 'the screwed one' (la chingada) and that term then grew into an expression representing the complexities of the Mexican identity (mulatto, criollo, mestizo, zambo; neither colonial nor western republican). This is not the place to go into any further detail, lest the very interesting observation of Paz for a forum like this one of professional translators: “The idea of La Chingada functions not only as a curse, but as a reminder of the power of the interpreter, even five hundred years after the conquest.”

My questions of the origin of the alleged translation mistake is still not answered by this... and for mere fun I have tried to list the possible (theoretical) options, including one called 'sabotage' (relating to the problematic family past of the Argentine spouse of the prince). A more realistic option came out at the last moment during my research when I found (by filtering away all 2009 versions of the text string

“Camaron que se duerme se lo lleva la chingada”

which led me to a web page of small music labels with a CD of life performances of modern forms what seems to be 'corrido', Mexican ballad like music in a 21st century packaging with lots of electronics (and light shows)... it is a song by the group 'Sonido Bravo' from the CD 'En Vivo Volume 2 Ultima'... and what do I read is the title of song number 6... is this pure chance or is there there a relation with the speech of the Dutch Crown prince?

6 “Camaron que se duerme se lo lleva la chingada” 7:21

My illustrated and documented research on the symbolic incident can be found at my blog The Limping Messenger
http://limpingmessenger.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/prins-garnaal-in-mexico-the-shrimp-prince-in-mexico/


 
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