La commissione libera!

I’ve seen this sign just outside Thomas Cook’s offices in North Street. I won’t discuss the French, Spanish, German and Polish texts, but please let me tell you a few words about the Italian one 😉

I’m pretty sure they used some automatic translator. I guess the original text was something like “Commission-free for all trades in foreign currencies”. The “-free” bit can be quite tricky: we don’t have anything like that in Italian. As an adjective, “free” is actually translated as “libero” (or “libera”, if feminine). That’s why the slow-witted translator went for “la commissione libera”, which means “the free commission”, and obviously doesn’t make any sense in the context given.

When you want to translate a “X-free” word into Italian, you need move around a bit. Most of the times, you will make it by choosing the “senza X”, “niente X” or “nessun X” form, or even the more bombastic “zero X”.

In this case, I would go for “NESSUNA COMMISSIONE / su tutte le transazioni in divisa estera”.

By the way… While I was taking the picture, I was tempted to pop in and say: “Hi there! Need a teacher of Italian?”. Then I thought they wouldn’t appreciate my readiness, and passed by…

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5 responses to “La commissione libera!

  1. Questo post mi fa venire in mente il primo capitolo del libro di U. Eco “Dire quasi la stessa cosa” che parla appunto dell’esperienza dell’autore con i traduttori automatici. Davvero spassosissimo ed esilarante. 😀 (Ma probabilmente l’avrai letto anche tu…) 🙂

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