Monday, April 8, 2013

A little more respect, please

We were enjoying a beautiful day in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, walking by the water.  My daughter pointed out a brass marker inset in the sidewalk.  She was so happy to see something written in Russian. 

Baltimore’s got a heritage trail that connects historical sites and museums of the city.  Along the trail you find brass markers that read “Heritage Walk” in various languages.

Well, the Russian marker reads «Наследство Гуляют».  Believe me, this is not “Heritage Walk.”  First of all, «гуляют» is a verb, not a noun.  The word «наследство» means “inheritance, legacy, fortune, heirloom.”  True, it may be used in a word combination «культурное наследство» which translates as “cultural heritage”, but the word “cultural” is essential.  The Russian verb «гулять» apart from “to take a walk” and other meanings, may mean “carouse, have a spree.”  So, here's what the Russian brass marker suggests (still in poor Russian): “Wasting their Inheritance.” 

The translation should have read: «Историческая Прогулка».

Now, how something like this could have happened, I wonder?  Did someone just Google the translation and choose the first thing that popped up without bothering to check anything?  Did someone even think of consulting a translator?  Or was it the same translator who wrote “peregruzka” (overload) instead of “perezagruzka” (restart) on the infamous “red button”?

Live for the Love of it,
The Happy Amateur


  1. Besides telling us...tell them - Baltimore ought to know. Maybe they'll change it.

    Translations, respect, tolerance are not easy, but the benefits of each done with proper care are priceless.

    I once heard and ad I didn't like. I called the company and basically said; hey get with the program and stop living in the past. Showing disrespect to a different people while trying to sell your product to your target market isn't going to make me want to run out and get your product. While I'm sure I wasn't the only one to voice my opinion I was actually relieved to learn that the offensive ad was removed, quite promptly in fact.

    1. I might try to do something, thank you Jules.
      And good for you to speak up!