Monday, December 15, 2008

Web Translations of Arabic and Hebrew

"A group of Israeli journalists prepared for a visit to the Netherlands last year by sending questions via e-mail to the Dutch Foreign Ministry. After online translation from Hebrew to English, the first question reportedly read: “The mother your visit in Israel is a sleep to the favor or to the bed your mind on the conflict are Israeli Palestinian and on relational Israel Holland.” That’s the problem with translation Web sites: they tend to be funnier than they are useful." He then adds: "Not bad, considering that the original question included the word martaan, an expression that literally means “fertile ground.”' This article is amusing but I need to quibble with his translation of "marta`an". In fact, neither hotbed nor "fertile ground" are good translation for the word. It can be best rendered in this context as "playground" although the etymology of the word carry a connotation of grazing ground. So there.