Tuesday, December 28, 2010

translational subterfuge

I was in the aisle dedicated to space heaters in Wal*Mart a few weeks ago examining the various items on the shelves. While reading the notes on the boxes, I noticed that quite a few of them (not all from the same manufacturer) seemed to be sport a rectangle of text and graphics titled "What type of heater do I need?" -- below this headline was a table telling you what kind of heaters offered different listed features. Each box had two such rectangles: one in English and the other in Spanish. The English version listed key benefits as "quick, even heat" for fan-forced heaters and "quick, powerful heat" for ceramic heaters. In the Spanish version, the same text calor rápido y uniforme was used for both. Surely there is a difference between "even" and "powerful."

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