Continuing this week’s general trend towards whinging and ranting about subtitles, lektors, and other things translation related we bring you my favorite badly-translated Polish website.
Be More Careful is brought to you by the Ministry of [the] Interior and Administration and is described as:
…a guide, which contains the information and a list of measures designed to help you make the preparations in case of the most common dangerous events and during the planning of securing your house or apartment.
A bit on the dodgy side, grammatically speaking, but more or less comprehensible.
We are hoping, that you will find our guide suitable and that you will never have to use it. We would like to make you feel more safe and calm while caring [sic] on with the necessary preparations in case of emergency.
I feel better already… I think. I also hope I never have to use the Be Prepared section because the links don’t work. I recently noticed my neighbor politely holding the door open for someone and, naturally, decided to report them as a probable dangerous radical. Unfortunately when I clicked on “Noticing the suspicious activity” it just took me to a blank page. This is a shame because I would also really like to know “How to prepare in case of a sudden event.”
There are, however, plenty of other things to click on. Having read the comments on Myth #8: Polish water is safe to drink I thought it would be a good idea to check out “Biological and chemical threats.”
You may be asked to: evacuate, go to a higher situated area, stand against the wind blow, stay at the apartment or to go into a certain place. You may also find yourself very close to the dangerous event and not realise that. If you will see people vomiting, in convulsions or disoriented you should immediately notify the medical care, and leave the place looking for a medical assistance.
I’ve been to several parties where a lot of this would have been good advice.
If I decide to seek shelter from my tap water I am advised:
In case of the chemical danger you should go to the area inside the house, preferably where there are no windows; the places above the ground are highly recommended, because some chemical substances are heavier than air and so they can penetrate the cellar even with the windows closed.
I could go on, but I think the point has been made. These are not terrible translations, but they’re just don’t reach the level of professionalism one might expect from an official government website. Whoever translated them is clearly very ‘good’ at English, but the end result sounds absurdly amateurish. It would have taken an English-speaking copy editor no more than a day to go through this entire site and knock it into shape.
I know it’s an easy target, and these pages probably only exist because it’s written into some clause of EU membership, but why can’t these institutions just make that little extra effort to look professional rather than like hopeless amateurs?
I just looked at the German Interior Ministry page on the same subject and the English is faultless. I was going to include a link to a Home Office (British ‘Ministry of the Interior’) document for Polish speakers to judge but I couldn’t find one.