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Aarrgghh!!! The magic of the mountains!

Marzo 2016
È stata una stagione un po’ deludente per gli sciatori (cambi climatici, poca neve), ma, linguisticamente parlando, ha prodotto grandi risultati… di divertente (tanto quanto fuorviante) cattiva traduzione! Few snow? Lone skier? Se vedete sciatori perplessi sulle piste… sapete il perché!
©Riccardo Fantoni
©Riccardo Fantoni

It may have been a disappointing skiing season in terms of snow, but it wasn’t in terms of “Lost in Translation” or “Aarrgghh!!!” mistakes. These two examples (click here to enlarge the image) were provided by Riccardo Fantoni, who is clearly a fan of both skiing and the English language. The picture on the right is unusual as the Italian itself is pretty strange. But what’s a lone skier? Is he a hero like The Lone Ranger? A better translation would be “One skier only,” or “One skier at a time.”
The sign below is even more unusual as it’s unlikely that you’d find anything like this in an English-speaking country (as it seems to be stating the obvious!) But if we want to correct the grammar, then few (“pochi” in Italian) refers to countable nouns, while snow is an uncountable. Snow is snow: you can’t have two or three “snows.” A better translation would therefore be “Not much snow,” or “Snow shortage” or ”Warning: Lack of snow,” but, as we say, signs like these would look pretty strange in English.

If you see English mistakes (in Italy, the UK, anywhere!) that make you scream “Aarrgghh!!!” take a photo (please make sure it’s in focus!) and send it to redazione@speakupmagazine.it
We will publish the best (that is, the worst) both here and on our Facebook page.


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