I interrupt my translation of a bathroom catalogue to bring you this:
Whilst researching a technical word for something or other, I stumbled across an English version of a publication for the very same company that I am currently translating for.
The sentence reads: [Company name] Email makes baths, shower trays and whirlpools scratch-resistant, abrasion-resistant, hygienic, easy to clean and stain resistant.
Great Scott! Which loonhead translated this?? Had they had their brain removed or something? What on earth made them think that “email” would be some sort of selling point?
It is easy to misread sentences – or even misunderstand them… but surely one might stop and consider that if the logic seems a bit wonky one is not thinking straight? It does sometimes happen that the original author was writing the piece after a beer too many/a row with their partner/too much sun – in which case the translator should go back to the source [client/agency/author] and ask what it is supposed to mean.
In this case, dear reader, Email in German does not mean e-mail – it is the humble coating on bath tubs: enamel.
An irony in this tale is that yesterday I picked up a bathroom catalogue from a local shop – not for background knowledge – but because I am thinking of a few improvements for my bathroom. As I flicked past all the gushing verbiage to find the pictures, specifications and prices, I wept inwardly. Nobody actually reads these finely crafted words… which is probably why the previous translator got away with his/her bath email… nobody noticed.
My life is wasted, I tell you. Wasted!