Sunday, May 24, 2009

Safety dungeon, confession

As a former translator I had to laugh at this rendering of the Hebrew term bor bitachon! Normally it is translated "safety pit." (You find them at every public place in Israel. It is a barrel buried in the ground, with a lid, in which to put a found suspicious object , e.g. a bomb, until the police sapper arrives. )
But Safety Dungeon???

This sign was there for the Pontifical Mass which was celebrated on Franciscan property in Jerusalem's Kidron Valley.
Click to enlarge and you can see their emblem, the crossed arms of Jesus and St. Francis.
So what did I find amusing? Well, in a moment of (Jewish) collective memory I imagined dungeons of the Inquisition; I wondered if the sign's translator-friar had unconsciously been influenced by the vocabulary of his inquisitor brothers from the Middle Ages, like, in a moment of (Catholic) collective memory.

Thank God, nothing and no one was put down in the dungeon during Mass on May 14.
I do have a confession, however. I erred.
When reporting to you about Pope Benedict's Mass (here, here, here, and here) I assumed, since there were no statistics afterward in the media, that the place built specially for the event (to hold 6,000 people) was pretty much full.
A few days ago the newspapers suddenly announced that Church officials were "perplexed" about the low turnout for the Jerusalem Mass.
 It seems that only 3,000 (or 3,500 according to the Franciscan website) of us got through the gate.
Sorry about that. I must remember the old rule: Assume nothing.


RuneE said...

Well, want ought to be safe from bombs in a dungeon. However, other things might be worse... ;-)

PS I think you may be right, if my old knowledge of the German language is right.

Kay said...

I just read an article in Newsweek about Pope Benedict's PR problem. They also mentioned how his arrival in Israel was not big news. It's true. We didn't hear much about it in the network news. I was surprised about that, too.

Reader Wil said...

A bomb dungeon! That's certainly not invented in the Middle Ages when the protestants were put in dungeons by the inquisition. Let's hope that there will come an end to all those bombs. Thanks Dina for the visit. Yes I got off my bike very often and my bicycle friend thought it quite okay! Have a great week!

Pietro said...

Here, for example, there are often incredible discussions in the tv talk shows about written statistics of different numbers of participants to certain events: it's almost a "rule" now!

Vagabonde said...

I was also a translator and it is harder than just being able to speak a language, one has to understand the nuances. Once I was correcting a translation from English to French and the person had translated into French “the aircraft was kneeling in the flying zone” instead of the aircraft was on the flight line”, so I am not surprised at the dungeon translation.

Jacob said...

Methinks your supposition may be correct. Just don't tell anyone 'cause a dungeon is probably vacant somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I forget about having to live next door to thoughts of terrorism and what that might mean.

This is a very nice post on Memorial Day. Sadly, it no longer honors all the dead but shifts the emphasis on veterans. I served during the Korean War but I still think our old "Decoration Day" was more meaningful and I wrote about it.

My look back to the good old days on Decoration Day

Robin said...

Safety dungeon? That's hysterical.

(As a fellow Israeli the concept of having them in the first place doesn't phase me at all, sadly.)

Anonymous said...

I see a suspicious shoe nearby. Our collective memory of Nike