Technical Note: Quote Bloat in Potential Tupi Tie-Up !

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“Investors in the Pernambuco Stock Exchange”: I visited the exchange in historic downtown Recife once (the building was colonial and pink) but am so freaking fat in the photo that I hesitate to publish it. Whether Brazilian regional exchanges might someday awake from their provincial torpor is kind of an interesting topic to speculate about, though.

When translating quotes from one language into another, we should do so in an idiomatic way rather than with pedantic literalness. Care must be taken to ensure that the tone of the translation is equivalent to the tone of the original. Beware of translating quotes in newspaper pickups back into the original language of the source. If a French politician gives an interview to an American newspaper, it is almost certain that the translation back into French will be wrong and in some cases the quote could be very different. In such cases, the fewer quotes and the more reported speech, the better.A Handbook for Reuters Journalism, “Quotes”

Notice to the Market: The Bovespa, Brazil’s main stock exchange, launched an IPO not so long ago, and there has been newsflow in recent weeks according to which it is thinking of merging with the BM&F (“the Chicago Mercantile Exchange of Brazil,” sort of).

Which is certainly not a completely weird thought to have.

After all, at a certain point, the possibilities of a NYSE-CME combination were kicked around, weren’t they?

The Folha de S. Paulo reported such a merger would potentially produce “the second-largest exchange group in the world.”

Then had to run an erratum correcting “in the world” to “in South America” or “in Latin America,” I forget which now.

The CVM, Brazil’s securities regulator, is notably interested in trying to get a handle on rumor mills, disinformation campaigns, and the general employment of noise machinery to clog the gears of the free and efficient operation of the capital markets with baffling bullshit.

See also

The CVM questioned the exchange about remarks to the press on the matter, and the exchange replied on January 18.

I mostly reproduce it as an exercise in evaluating the quality of newsflow in translation, which is kind of my thing these days (I am doing some modest consulting on this topic these days for the New York office of an investor relations agency that specializes in Tupi public companies.)

Just to make it clear: I do not have any information at all on the substance of the matter in question, and I most certainly would not be telling tales out of school about it even if I did.

Verdict: Not too bad.

We acknowledge receipt and thank you for your referenced [?] letter. In answer to your query [inquiry], we inform you that the headline of the news report published in the January 16, 2008 edition of newspaper Valor Econômico, issue of January 16, 2008, which was worded [read] “Fusão Bovespa-BM&F faz sentido, diz Gilberto Mifano” (“Merger Bovespa_-BM&F merger makes sense, says Gilberto Mifano”), is not an accurate quote quotation of anything the undersigned Gilberto Mifano told the newspaper reporter when he was interviewed [in his capacity?] as chief executive officer of Bovespa Holding S.A.

“Quote” is an acceptable, but informal, synomym of “quotation.”

something that is quoted ; especially : a passage referred to, repeated, or adduced especially as evidence or illustration b : a striking, distinctive, or popular passage suitable for quoting <a book of quotations>

That damned Brazilian press, always misquotationing people!

In fact, [along the text] of this same news report (on page D2) it is indicated that, on answering in answer to a question concerning a possible merger of the two exchanges, we clearly stated that “absolutely nothing has been discussed about this matter”, in a reference to speculations about discussions between the two exchanges. In addition, this news report shows that other answers to questions related to the same subject were stated in clearly conceptual and theoretical terms, while at the same time making reference to a recognized ongoing global trend.

I think they mean “hypothetical” and “notional” terms.

He did not say it did make sense.

He said it might or would or could make sense, hypothetically.

Exchange consolidation is something of a global trend, I think it is safe enough to say.

As the folks at the Mondo Visione news service (niche reporting on big computer farms where people swap stocks and other contracts, in theory, at the speed of the Internet) are always reporting.

Nasdaq is buying the Scandinavian “stock exchange in a box” company OMX now, for example, right? Interesting company, interesting deal.

I actually went to the World Federation of Exchanges meeting in São Paulo a year or so ago to scout around a little bit, having covered this recondite beat in a modest way in my time. Just to get a look at the lay of the land.

Ao longo da mesma materia is probably the original wording.

More like “in course of the same article” or “further down in the same article,” or just “in the same article.”

I might even have said, “Valor quotes us as stating that …,” if that were the case.

As we have said in a previous letter to you concerning a similar matter, we hereby confirm that absolutely no decision or action has been adopted by our company towards a possible merger with BM&F. Moreover, as stated at the end of said interview, the Boards of each of the two exchanges would have to “express their positions” on the matter, which to date has not occurred.

It would be interesting to look at the original Valor article (I read it regularly. Very useful and competently written and reported business paper, but just unbelievably expensive.)

I am always interested in alleged failures to communicate of this kind.

Sometimes you get into these wooly hermeneutical quarrels over what people may or may not be implying by the words they are saying.

Or else you run into a similar problem, tactitly, when you resort to “reported speech” — “the CEO said that the deal made sense” — rather than quoted words — “The deal might make sense,” said the CEO.

Finger-wagging lesson of the day: Headlines matter.

“Is” does not meant he same thing as “might be.”

These days, you can’t be too careful about what you say in public.


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