Friendily yours,

Let’s not kill all the translators… « Thoughts On Translation.

Friendly is as friendly does.

The drafting of letters, particularly diplomatic ones, is a serious matter.

“Amicalement”, left in the French, would have been a better choice, especially given the “Cher Barack” salutation, and the fact that unless you are a complete oddball, “Amicably” does not quite cut it in English.

This is one word, everybody, one word.

Context is everything, as translators are fond of saying. The French President should have had a whole department of translators having a meeting on this. Alternatively, His Excellency could have asked what precedents had been set for this type of letter.

In Portuguese, he may have written, “Abraços”, which literally, in English, means “hugs”. That would have been a whole lot worse than “Friendly”.

Two cents, in the spirit of friendship,

Allison

3 thoughts on “Friendily yours,

  1. Thanks Allison, for your thoughts.
    Just to add to your collection of quotes:
    “Writing should be done in the same manner as the washerwomen of Alagoas practice their craft. They start with a first wash(ing), soaking the dirty clothing by the bank of the lagoon or stream; they wring the piece of clothing, soak it again, and then wring it once more. They then add indigo, soap and wring once, and then twice. Then they rinse, and soak it again, now splashing the water onto the cloth with their hands. They beat the cloth on a slab or clean stone, they wring it again and then one more time, they wring it until no water drops from the cloth anymore. Only after they have done all this do they hang the clean piece of clothing to dry, on a string or clothes line. Whoever goes into writing should do the very same thing. The word was not meant to embellish or to spark like fake gold; the word was meant to say.” (Graciliano Ramos, during an interview, in 1948)

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