“Translation Delays Cacciola Extradition”

Apologia pro vita sua and “witness to history” read of the week.

Few informed people still see the original ideal of fully automatic high-quality translation of arbitrary texts as a realistic goal for the foreseeable future. Many systems require texts to be preedited to put them in a form suitable for treatment by the system, and post-editing of the machine’s output is generally taken for granted.–Martin Kay, “Machine Translation: The Disappointing Past and Present

Engineer and futurist Raymond Kurzweil has predicted that by 2012, machine translation will be powerful enough to dominate the translation field. MIT’s Technology Review also listed universal translation and interpretation as likely “within a decade” in its 2004 list. Such claims, however, have been made since the first serious forays into machine translation in the 1950s.

Ray Kurzweil also predicted Dow 36,000 by sometime shortly after the collapse of the Internet Bubble, while Nicholas Negroponte of MIT’s Media Lab projected, what was it? 150 million “$100 laptops” in the tiny hands of the world’s underprivileged children by now?

File under: The revenge of the Reality Principle and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Extra Alagoas reports: Translation errors slow the wheels of justice in Monaco in extradition proceedings against the former owner of the defunct Marka Bank, Salvatore Cacciola.


I can imagine what our good friend the Enigmatic Mermaid (a licensed and certified legal translator and interpreter, and a damned good one, too) will say …

Actually, what the Enigmatic Mermaid might say is probably unprintable.

Erros na tradução dos documentos enviados pelo governo brasileiro à Justiça de Mônaco no processo de extradição de Salvatore Cacciola levaram ontem ao terceiro adiamento seguido da audiência para definir o destino do ex-banqueiro.

Errors in translation of documents sent by the Brazilian government to the Monaco justice system in the extradition proceeding against Salvatore Cacciola led to the third postponement in a row of the hearing to settle the former banker’s fate.

A Corte de Apelações (tribunal que vai julgar o pedido de extradição de Cacciola) determinou que seja feita nova tradução do português para o francês, com base nos originais, desta vez paga pelo governo de Mônaco. “A tradução não é boa, certas expressões estão confusas”, disse a procuradora-geral do principado, Annie Brunet-Fuster: “Isso vai custar caro”.

The Court of Appeals, which will rule on the extradition request, ordered a new translation from Portuguese to French, based on the originals, this time paid for by the Monaco government “The translation is not good, certain expressions are confused,” said the principality’s prosecutor-general, Annie Brunet-Fuster. “This is going to cost dear.”

A defesa de Cacciola, que pediu o novo adiamento, foi bem mais incisiva nas críticas. “É como se tivessem colocado numa dessas páginas de tradução da internet. Não se entende nada. É uma tradução incompreensível”, disse Alessandra Mocchi, que faz parte do time de defesa do ex-banqueiro. Seu colega monegasco, Franck Michel, chegou a cogitar que a tradução tivesse sido feita por leigos em assuntos jurídicos.

Cacciola’s defense, which requested the new postponement, was more incisive in its criticism: “It is as you had put an Internet translation on one of these pages. You cannot understand a word. The translation is incomprehensible,” said Alessandra Mocchi, part of the ex-banker’s defense team. Her Monacan [?] colleague, Franck Michel, pondered whether the translation might not have been made by someone unfamilir with legal matters.



The Mermaid’s rude phrase for calling up the cheapest translation help on the market — often through the magic of e-procurement! — without checking credentials: “Bringing in the crack whores.”

The Mermaid is a tough cookie.

Not sure about her French, but her English is near-perfect “San Fernando Valley carhop with a B.A. in drama from Yale, looking to break into pictures.” With just a (charming) hint of Carmen “Chica Chica Chica Boom” Miranda.


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