Full Disclosure: Marketing y Medios published a couple dozen of my articles until December, 2005 when competing trade publication Multichannel News asked and paid me to write for them on an exclusive basis.)
A Spanish-language press release issued this week by Marketing y Medios, a trade publication dedicated to covering Hispanic marketing and media, is riddled with errors of grammar, syntax and style. So much so that I am inclined to believe (or would like to believe) no one at the magazine actually read it.
The most egregious mistake is the use of the made-up word "visionaje", which is used as a translation of "viewing". Using "visionaje" in a Spanish-language release is akin to Nielsen putting out a release in English talking about television "viewage".
The author not only invented words but also translated the wrong ones. For instance, Marketing y Medios editor Nancy Ayala is quoted in the original release as stating "The spots say cool, uninhibited, free. Stodgy feelings be gone." Nice quotation. "Cool, uninhibited, free" has a certain ring to it. Same with "Stodgy feelings be gone". Well, the translator turns the two sentences into real clunkers. "Los anuncios hablan de soltura, desinhibición, libertad. Nada de sentimientos de abulia." And "stodgy" somehow became "abulia", which means apathy. (Actually, it is more often used to describe extreme apathy a la Oblomov.) "Anticuado" for old-fashioned or "aburrido" for dull would have worked better.
The release informs us that the "Hispanic Creative Best Spots of 2006" (an ugly phrase in English) were selected "de acuerdo a su penetración en este tipo de audiencia" (emphasis added). Nielsen Business Media "ayuda a los negocios a introducirse en el mercado con mayor efectividad y eficiencia" according to the release (again, emphasis added). Both penetración and introducirse are words that have "double entendre" thrust upon them.
Many of the mistakes unintentionally provoke laughter such as "Desde su primera aparición impresa y por Internet". The writer meant to say "since its first appearance in print and online" but instead uses the word "apparition" suggesting a spectral quality to the magazine that has gone from standalone publication to monthly insert.
I've written about translation gaffes and goofs before and how they demonstrate a fundamental lack of respect for the Spanish-speaking segment of the Latino market. The problem is that poorly written Spanish-language press releases continue to be routinely and widely circulated. Even by those who should know better.