Raisins de Seeded: Why We Need Humans

For those of you who think you’re learning french by reading the back of your shampoo bottle, think again.

I know a little bit about french – it was one of my majors in college, and I spent one semester living there when I was 20 (WOE IS ME, that was TEN years ago). Back then, I was fluent. Yet contrary to what they told Steve Carell in “40-Year-Old Virgin,” YES: If you don’t use it, you lose it.

Regardless, I like to think that I retain enough of the language to be able to get by if the gods were to smile upon me and I found myself back in France.

Anyway, I still get a good chuckle out of reading product labels translated – or half translated – into french. Like this bag of grapes I bought this week:

Now, “grape,” in french, is “raisin.” So that’s confusing to folks who don’t know french, but there you go. And “rouges” is right, too, so we’re good there. But “seeds” are “pépins” and whoever translated this into French I suppose used Google Translate, or something like that, and the software just didn’t know how to translate “seeded.” You’d say “grapes with seeds,” not “seeded grapes.” For the record, it should be “raisins rouges au pépins.”

Anyway, we got “Raisins Rouges de Seeded” on this packaging, and it ticks me off. I mean, at least have someone check it before you have however many of these things printed. Why even put it on there? Because of our weird American obsession with the French being somehow more sophisticated?

This all supports my defense for keeping humans around (especially the ones who are skilled writers and editors).


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