Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This national revival is more difficult than we thought...

"And in conclusion - a couple of words about the Estonian national renaissance. As is customary in such cases, the new national government passed a few laws in various degrees of cost, offensiveness, and uselessness. Among other things, it was decided that meetings of local governments must occur, without exception, in Estonian.

This thought, in itself, was not so bad perhaps. However, there is in Estonia a town called Narva which is 96 percent Russian. So the majority of the officials of the local council know Estonian about as well as the Russian old ladies in Bat Yam know Hebrew.

At first the people tried to meet in broken Estonian. Obviously, nothing good came of that. And then someone exhibited some Russian ingenuity... Now, the local government meets thusly: first there is a REHEARSAL of the meeting about which the law says nothing, at which point everything is discussed in Russian. And only afterwards the official meeting is formally started, where everyone harmoniously votes in Estonian."

Spontaneously translated by yours truly from here...


Blogger The back of the hill said...

Reminds me of the subtitles for Cantonese movies made in Hong Kong before the hand-over.

There was a law that stated that ALL movies made or shown in Hong Kong had to have English subtitles.

There were no legal standards for the English used in those subtitles.

Given the speed and lowness of budget with which those movies were made, obviously subtitles were not high on the list of priorities or budgetary concerns.

Equally missing was any immodest familiarity with the English language.

Most of the English subtitles suggest four or five guys pulling an all-nighter, with a much thumbed dictionary, a crate of Tsingtao, and a pizza delivery at four in the morning.

Sometimes the subtitles were the best part of the movie.

August 15, 2007 1:49 PM  

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