La Voz de Galicia – August 12, 2022 →

Cristina PatoMy friend Carlos, a linguist from Madrid settled in Massachusetts, likes to take pictures of signs where curious translations from English to Spanish are «committed.» Sometimes they seem funny because they are literal, and other times–because of the fascinating life of its own Spanglish has–the translations are more an interpretation of a text than an actual translation. For some time, when I saw one that surprised me, I tried to take a picture of it to share it with Carlos, and without realizing, I acquired this habit…

But over the last few days, I thought about beginning to do the same here in Galicia because the use of unnecessary anglicisms is already so present that one can’t help but ask when the spiral of the low cost or barber shop began. I myself, who without realizing it practice Spanglish and Castrapo (a form of Spanish using much Galician vocabulary and syntax) am surprised at how quickly we have accepted all of these words and expressions that we don’t really need, and at how little we do to prevent being carried away by the fad of translating that which we already have. For example, this week, on one of Ourense’s intercity buses, I read something like «We take you by the face,» and I thought for a moment about the expression by the face, a literal translation of the Galician pola cara and in the fact that I had never used it in that other life I inhabit in English…And then I began to question whether I had ever learned it: «Eighteen years living there and I didn’t know whether people say by the face!» I thought. I doubted it so much that I had to ask a bilingual American friend if she knew that expression, and of course she didn’t, because it turns out that by the face is our contemporary (or should I say cool) Galician way of saying pola cara…And I, without meaning to, feel that with each passing day I speak worse the language I have never spoken well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.