Avva quotes a wonderful instance (picked up from agavr) of thoughtless translation: “Thank you—these two words…” is rendered into Russian as “Spasibo—eti dva slova [these two words]…”

This reminded me of something that made me laugh during my first, mirthless days in NYC (no job, no money, no telephone, just been dumped, you know the song). In those days, Don Q rum had an advertising campaign using the tagline “Quality begins with Q.” Advertisers were just beginning to realize it might be useful to reach the millions of Spanish-speakers in the city in their own language, so ads were being translated—but not always at the highest level. This one, for instance, became: “Calidad comienza con Q.”

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