Friday, April 15, 2011

Geek's Corner (3) : Diplomatic trifles

Consider the phrase:

"Nous avons mangé le diplomate"

No need for alarm, there is nothing anthropophagic going on here. My trusty visual French-English bilingual dictionary is quite clear that (le) diplomate is the word for everyone's favorite delicious dessert, trifle.

This fact appears not to have made it to the synapses of the magnificent neural network that lurks within Google's translation engine, which insists on rendering the sentence above as:
"Nous avons mangé la bagatelle".
But that's what you get when you settle for the soulless machine-translation approach to life.

Note, however, that le diplomate can also mean "the diplomat", so if you find yourself travelling among, say, the Fore tribe of New Guinea, you might want to provide sufficient context to avoid any possible ambiguity. Whipping Cats management cannot be held responsible for any international incidents that might occur as a consequence of careless reading of this blog.

Now consider the gentleman in the picture below:

He used to be France's top diplomat in Hong Kong. But not any more. According to the Beijing Times, which I'm sure has no interest whatsoever in making foreign diplomats look bad:

The top French diplomat in Hong Kong and Macau was suspended and recalled to Paris last week for stealing two expensive bottles of wine, a source familiar with the matter told AFP on Tuesday. Marc Fonbaustier, 46, France’s consul-general in the Chinese semi-autonomous territories, was forced to leave his job after Beijing sought his removal just over a year after taking the top-ranking post, the source said. Another source in Hong Kong said the theft occurred at a private members’ club.
According to a report in the Apple Daily newspaper, the wine was worth 50,000 Hong Kong dollars (6,440 US dollars). Police and the French consulate in Hong Kong both declined comment.

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