Wednesday, October 21, 2009

80 gallons of Legos

Really, this didn't start out being procrastination. I'm working on a class project that lead me to check popular media for some information. Of course, one thing led to another to another ... and this was the end of the procrastination trail of tears.

Mistranslations from German:

Schwanz ... or Schwanz ... ?

Visitors to a tourist attraction in Berlin have been making off with an unusual memento—the 30 cm long penis of a Lego giraffe.

The Lego phallus belongs to a six metre tall model that has stood outside the entrance to the Legoland Discovery Centre on Potsdamer Platz since 2007.

“It’s a popular souvenir,” a spokeswoman for the centre said Tuesday. “It’s been stolen four times now …”

The article (in its entirety) in Columbia Journalism Review covers several other mis-translations.
BTW: Schwanz is a tail. It's also a popular slang for penis.

Although, apparently in both translations, it was still €3,000.

$4,500 for 30-cm of Legos? That's only about 1-ft. Even if one assumes it was relatively round (the tail, not the reproductive appendage), how could it possibly be that much? The Lego store @ Mall of America sells Legos by the bucket; it's only $14 for a quart of Lego. Somehow, I don't see Legoland using a 80 gallons (305 L) of Legos to build a 1 foot (30 cm) tail.

The post concluded with: Relying on someone a few desks down in the newsroom, or on your memory from that year you went to Oktoberfest, is a sure-fire way to end up lost in translation.

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