Reagan's Butcher Carries Out Genocide

ElFilósofo

Senior Member
English U.S.
Here is the translation of the headline of an article about Rios Montt, the brutal president of Guatemala who was basically a puppet of the U.S. when Ronald Reagan was the president of the U.S. My question is this: Is it clear to the reader that "el carnicero" is not Reagan, but Rios Montt? Would this translation be confusing? If so, how could it be improved? Gracias de antemano.

El carnicero de Reagan comete el genocidio en Guatemala

Original English headline: Reagan's Butcher Carries Out Genocide in Guatemala


Moderator's note
Title changed to include the original phrase.
Bevj
 
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  • Sendro Páez

    Senior Member
    Spanish - España
    O, ambiguity, you beautiful!

    In formal contexts —and I'm candid enough to keep thinking headlines belong in formality—, insulting identifications such as "el payaso del Presidente" should be discarded..., but so should be assumptions like, 'Ríos Montt = a butcher (and not the grocery's kind)', so de perdidos al río.

    But, no, more seriously, I would drop butcher just because i) it would spoil the genocide in Guatemala part, and ii) it could have somebody reacting like, 'Who should Reagan have commissioned a mass killing to, his dogs' hairdresser?', which would be a flop.

    In order to avoid confusion, you should go with a word not commonly used to disrespect —I'm thinking of sicario, and secuaz—, or something unlikely to be applied to Reagan —the marioneta you mentioned sounds quite well.

    Anyway, since you wrote the headline in the present, I regret to inform you that your edition might hit the stands roughly 40 years late. Yeah, I know, I'm desperately slow at writing myself.

    Disclaimer: I didn't want any readers to recall actual pedrisent-clowns. This wasn't but about grammar.
     

    ElFilósofo

    Senior Member
    English U.S.
    Thanks, though I find some of your points a bit confusing to these anglo ears (de perdidos al río? pedrisent-clowns?). But this article, with this headline translation, has been posted online (Crimen Yanqui - Caso # 95: El carnicero de Reagan comete el genocidio en Guatemala) for quite a while and is still important history, but the headline translation has recently been criticized for implying that Reagan is the "butcher" in question, not Rios Montt. (Actually, Reagan was in reality more of a butcher than Rios Montt, but that's beside the point. The original English headline refers to Rios Montt as the butcher.) So we only will change the headline if it is necessary to do so. So my original question was whether this translation would cause confusion, should it be changed, or can it be left as is?

    El carnicero de Reagan comete el genocidio en Guatemala

    Original English headline: Reagan's Butcher Carries Out Genocide in Guatemala
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    I think you can fix it with Un. This de also works with nouns in English (a wonder of a place, una maravilla de lugar; a nightmare of a dinner, una pesadilla de comida); so that would be the issue here & with other examples in 12.14e & ff. (that crazy-ass cousin of yours).
     

    JNavBar

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Cuba
    "El carnicero de Reagan..." could be interpreted as if Reagan was the butcher, as you said, but I guess someone with just a little lecture comprehension would understand that you are referring to Rios Montt as soon as he reads the article, but if you want to avoid any kind of misinterpretation I'll give some ideas could be:

    "El carnicero a las órdenes de Reagan comete genocidio" - This could be interpreted as if Reagan itself ordered the mass killing
    "El carnicero bajo mandato de Reagan..." - Same problem as above
    "Un carnicero de Reagan..." - as proposed by @S.V. But this could imply that there are more Reagan's butchers...

    As you can see, ANY writing could be misinterpreted...if people are just gonna stick with the headline and won't go deeper into the article there is nothing you can do. I don't think your original headline is sensationalist or misleading, and if someone gets confused by it, just reading the article should be enough to resolve the doubts.

    My last proposition, just add the name of the butcher in the headline: "El carnicero de Reagan, Rios Montt, comete..."
     
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