05 June 2011

Translating official mail: Will/won't/do/don't #5

I WON'T miss using Babelfish to translate official mail we receive. Here's one sentence I just typed into the program, from one paragraph of a nine-paragraph document we received after selling our car:

Voor belastingplichtigen die hun hoofdverblijfplaats of maatschappelijke zetel in het Vlaamse Gewest hebben, is de Vlaamse Belastingdienst bevoegd inzake verkeerbelasting, belasting op de inverkeerstelling en eurovignet.

I WILL miss seeing these endless Dutch words. Hoofdverblijfplaats? I love it.

And I will miss the amusing translations and the bluntness. The document from the DIV (= DMV) directs us to others for follow-up questions, and then explains in paragraph 7: Each contact with the DIV about these matters is "volstrekt nutteloos," = "total useless." Oh, nutteloos!


Nicci Tse said...

I never thought about how you would only have the Flemmish on your mail. BE is complicated.

I had a thought about what I don't miss yesterday. At the gym, Sarah was drying her hair with the public hair dryer in the dressing room after swimming. At our old swimming lessons in BE, there were hair dryers and hair BRUSHES provided. My challege each week was to keep the girls from touching or using those brushes without saying anything offensive in front of the other parents in the room who did not feel the way I felt about sharing hair brushes with strangers. The one time Hannah said anything out loud it was, "Oh yeah, head lights". So at least hopefully no one knew what she was talking about.

Nicci Tse said...


Jennifer Lee said...

I love this, Nicci! Thanks for the laugh.