Sunday, March 19, 2006


Pesto resistance

Alexander Chancellor in the Guardian laments the quality of 'English translations on Italian menus, signs and packages'. A pesto sauce purchased in Tuscany serves as the example:
It's an dexcellent handmade with no conservant and very tasty mode of use: to spread it on the toast, bread, roast and every where it is wanted to become tasty
Same old story, then. But the explanation he offers is rather novel:
It could be a subtle form of resistance to Anglo-Saxon cultural imperialism - rebellion masquerading as deference
Ah, but did it occur to him that similar problems may also arise with translations into other languages, ones not associated with cultural imperialism?

Methinks I detect a mild strain of that strange paranoia displayed by certain English-speakers abroad, who convince themselves that any fellow-monoglots they encounter among the locals are perfectly capable of communicating in English but simply refuse to do so out of 'rudeness', 'arrogance' or some such other unappealing quality.

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