'Very Mythical': Netizens Ridicule Brexit White Paper Translation Fiasco

The British government’s bid to provide translations of Theresa May’s Brexit plan in 22 European languages has hit a snag after social media users started mocking the inaccurate and sometimes even absurd choice of words.

Theresa May’s government stepped up its attempts to win over EU member states, but its lack of foreign language skills made its white paper on Brexit a laughing stock.

READ MORE: EU's Brexit Negotiator: May's Chequers Plan Incompatible With Bloc's Guidelines

The German version of the document seemed to have been doomed to failure from page one when the very name of the language was spelled wrong – “Deutsche” instead of “Deutsch” – it was later corrected.

A German speaker told The Independent that the language used in the paper was “old school to the max” and made Brexit sound “very mythical” because of the “archaic and needlessly complex” language.

The blueprint has become a subject of widespread mockery on social media, with Twitter user Oscar D Torson branding the paper as “awful to read” and “not German,” tweeting that “it was translated by someone who learned German in school to a decent level but who never really spoke it, and who is also not a professional translator.”

READ MORE: Workable Brexit, Strength of Union, Irish Border: May's Speech in N. Ireland

A fellow user pointed out another mishap: when translating that Brexit was “the biggest democratic exercise in this country’s history,” they rendered “democratic exercise” into “demokratische Übung,” which is translated as “practice,” “training” or “drill” in English.

Another netizen highlighted other German howlers in a Twitter thread, describing the document as a “mixture of archaic grammar and vocabulary and sloppy colloquial use of language”:

Some pointed out other ridiculous mistakes:

The Twittersphere kept wondering if the UK government used Google Translate to present the White Paper to EU member-states:

There were those who suggested that the translation made Brexit sound “mythical”:

Some claimed that the Estonian and Finnish versions misspelled “Estonia” and “Finland,” while the Polish translation said “Polskie” instead of “Polski.”

The Dutch kindly asked the British government to “stick to English” to avoid any misunderstanding:

French speakers have also pointed out the blunders in the French version, which translated “principled Brexit” as “un Brexit vertueux,” meaning “a virtuous Brexit”:

Others couldn’t help but throw jabs at the English version:

The vast majority of Twitterians dismissed the botched translation of the Brexit White Paper as “very third rate”:

Last week, Theresa May’s government agreed on the Brexit White Paper – a document that outlines a comprehensive vision for the UK’s future relationship with the EU. The paper became an apple of discord in May’s cabinet, and drew harsh criticism from Eurosceptic Tories, which was followed by the resignation of Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who were replaced by Dominic Raab and Jeremy Hunt, respectively.

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