Wednesday, 18 June 2008


This is hilarious.

A few weeks back the Korean public was angry about the mistranslation of a statement my the US Ambassador. The translation made it sound like he said Koreans should learn science. The ambassador said something along the lines of: “…should learn the science and facts about BSE…”. The likely highly paid government translator and oh so professional media translated it as: “…should learn science and the facts of BSE…”. Notice the absence of that little word THE? A translator should know what a great impact that has on meaning. Professional translators know they have to translate meaning, not just words.

Considering this, here is a bit of interesting official advice from the “Cultural Guide for Migrant Workers in Korea – USA” (Apparently the USA is the only country that speaks English. They don’t speak it in England). The guide says:

Dangerous electric fans

In summer many go to bed with a fan on. In some cases a fan turned on too long can cause death from oxygen deficiency, hypothermia, or fire from overheating. A fan with a timer can help prevent such dangers: you can set the timer before going to bed for one to two hours' run. Do not forget to have the windows open for ventilation.

from: Cultural Guide for Migrant Workers in Korea

Well, so much for the “Don’t insult our science knowledge!” argument. I admit that there are many strange things modern people believe, but have you ever tried to convince a Korean that this is not true, using obvious arguments? Try it, but don’t be too serious about the whole thing. It is fun.

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