Entry: Italia.(isn't).it Thursday, February 18, 2010



Italia.IT, the renowned (some would say infamous) Italian National tourism portal, has done it once again.

Even after the millions of euros thrown away by the right leaning government before launching it, and by the left leaning one that inherited it to manage to get it on line, with almost as many problems and criticisms as euros spent; the modifications to get it in line with the current accessibility laws and to placate the most severe of the criticisms; and the soon thereafter blackout for another extended period of many many moons, they still haven't found 9 euros* to hire a decent proofreader for the home page** in English.

In Italian, the bottom right corner has a menu of site services (Colophon), the first of which (and thus, presumably the most important) is "Collabora",


 which leads to a page for feedback and suggestions entitled, appropriately "Collabora"


BUT, in English, they try, but just can't seem to get it right...

and


Now had Ken Kane, my HS freshman year English teacher, seen that glaring error***, it would have been an immediate grade off. Were that a final paper, he probably would have refused to move past the front page and gone straight to "F", or made me retype the entire paper from scratch (we didn't have word processors, much less web sites or blogs, way back when).
Were that front page the result of millions and millions of euros of investment and years of effort, well, let's just say that it was a Christian institute, so it probably would have been worse than flogging but better than crucifixion.

* http://punto-informatico.it/2813203/PI/News/italiait-problemi-traduzione.aspx

** http://www.italia.it/en/home.html

*** for the spelling challenged, "partecipate" is the second person plural of the verb "partecipare" - IN THE ITALIAN LANGUAGE. In English it does NOT exist. The correct word for exhorting people to collaborate with the editorial staff of the portal in English is "Participate".

P.S. note the fantastic attention to detail through beautiful 3-d effects on the drop shadows, but total lack of communication skills by ignoring things like proper English...

P.S.2 note this jewel of a useful translation, in terms of clarity:

Italian:
Documenti necessari per guidare in Italia
Le patenti rilasciate da qualsiasi Stato appartenente all'Unione Europea sono valide all'interno di tutto il territorio UE, quindi anche in Italia.
Se si possiede una patente rilasciata da uno Stato non UE necessario avere un permesso di guida internazionale o una traduzione giurata della propria patente.

English:
Documents required to drive in Italy
Driving licences issued by any of the EU member states are valid throughout the European Union, including Italy.
Drivers in possession of a licence issued by any EU country do not require an international driving permit or a sworn translation of their own licence.

Is it just me, or does the English say something quite different (though not contradictory), and much less useful, for someone from outside the EU, who doesn't happen to speak fluent Italian (like a typical foreign tourist)? How so typically Italian.

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