So, like all red-blooded cat owners, I’m checking icanhascheezburger.com for an update, and see this:
It’s an OK Lolcat, but I’ve seen better (here and here, for instance). Haven’t we all known cats who love to — wait a minute, what’s that on the sink? Laufen? That’s German. Teh odd Inturnets subkulcher of Lolcats have reeched Jurmminy?!!1!
Hmm. The English Wikipedia entry has yet to be translated into German (Hungarian and Spanish are covered, though). To verify that this was in fact a German Lolcat picture, I looked up the brand "tofix" on the bottle in the background. It’s an Austrian firm that specializes in toilet cleaners. Their German-language website is here.
Whenever I see a website like Tofix’s — nice, but not too sophisticated, pretty 2002-looking — I always look for a little Union Jack picture, for the English-language version. A big company will hire professional translators for their fancy, Java-encrusted websites, leading to disappointingly competent translations. But a smaller firm like Tofix will usually hire Ute, the quality control supervisor’s wife, who spent 3 years studying education in New Zealand. And indeed, that’s what we have at the English-language website of Tofix/Rorax enterprises. Here’s their mission statement:
Tofix has been the specialist for cleaning and hygiene in bathrooms and toilets. It offers powerful products appropriate for all cleaning requirements. It combats limescale and urinary calculus and is safe to use. The Tofix product range represents powerful cleaning and perfect cleanliness within no time.
In fact, they have a product called WC Urinary Calculus Remover that does nothing but remove urinary calculus.*
And, I say, not a moment too soon!
* I have some sympathy for the translator. The word Ute was trying to translate, Urinstein, doesn’t even exist in English. There’s no official entry for it on dict.leo.org, you are instead sent to a discussion forum containing the suggestions "urine scale" and "urinal cake" (which is clearly wrong). Now "urine scale" is pretty close, but really, how often do you hear that? I doubt a company in squeamish Anglo-Saxonia would put the word "urine" on the front of a toilet-cleaning product. Not so in Germany. We see here the renowned Central European earthiness at work. In fact, you can buy a special stain remover (g) that promises to remove "blood," "sperm"and "pus" from your clothes. Something for the serial killer on your gift list!