Friday, April 20, 2007

Unexpected vocabulary lessons

From MSNBC's "Peculiar Postings":

Doris Moore was shocked when her new couch was delivered to her home with a label that used a racial slur to describe the dark brown shade of the upholstery.

The situation was even more alarming for Moore because it was her 7-year-old daughter who pointed out “n----- brown” on the tag.

The culprit? An outdated translation program used by the Chinese manufacturer.

He explained that when the Chinese characters for “dark brown” are typed into an older version of its Chinese-English translation software, the offensive N-word description comes up.

“We got the definition from a Chinese-English dictionary. We’ve been using the dictionary for 10 years. Maybe the dictionary was updated, but we probably didn’t follow suit,” he said.

That's one comprehensive dictionary....

The comedy of errors needed for this to happen is pretty impressive.

1. Chinese manufacturer uses faulty translation program to make the initial error.

2. Wholesaler doesn't notice.

3. Couch goes to store owned by an Indian immigrant, who doesn't know what the word means.

But to top off the stupidity, there's this:

Moore is consulting with a lawyer and wants compensation. Last week, she filed a report with the Ontario Human Rights Commission....

Moore, 30, has three young children, and said the issue has taken a toll on her family.

Compensation? For a translation error? Lordy. It would probably be smart business sense for store or manufacturer to offer their apologies and perhaps a discount. But claiming "harm" from something like this is just goofy.

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