Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Returning in a taxi from Great Victoria Street bus station at the weekend, the Blether Region was intrigued to spot a snippet of Dutch on a gable-end "welcoming" people to Sandy Row. It turns out that the text is a translation of a well-known quote attributed to Prince William of Orange, "Let ambition fire thy mind".
Unfortunately, as often happens with non-linguists, the designers of the mural seem to have grossly underestimated the difficulty involved in translating from one language to another, with the result that, rather than paying £30 for a professional job, they appear to have invested the sum of their hopes in the dubious facility of Google Translate.
The "Dutch" on the mural is "Laat ambitie brand uw verstand", which, leaving to one side an additional error in word order and the use of the polite form for "thy", one might back-translate as "Let ambition conflagration your understanding".
Those few Dutch natives to have come face to face with the (admittedly attractive) wall have been damning in their criticism.
Miek on the Road, for example, says "Haha.... volgens mij hebben ze gewoon de Google vertaalmachine gebruikt!", while Paul Beentjes says "Eigenlijk niet te bevatten wat dit betekent."