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La7 misunderstands the Mastercard ad

Ottobre 2013
Il Tg di La7 fraintende l'inglese e fa uno strafalcione...

di Mark Worden


The Italian TV channel La7 has broadcast a news report in which it attacks Mastercard for its negative (even racist) portrayal of Italians. In the ad, which appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Mastercard tells potential clients "Not having to figure out Italian for 'I Can't Pay Now' Priceless". The news channel translated this as "Poter evitare di fare gli italiani, per dire 'Ora non posso pagare' Non ha prezzo" ("Avoiding having to be like the Italians and say 'I Can't Pay Now' Priceless"). Presumably, Enrico Mentana and his colleagues don¹t know the phrasal verb "to figure out" which means "capire, calcolare" and not "fare la figura". In actual fact the ad doesn't say that Italians don't pay but refers to foreign tourists in Italy who don't have to stress themselves trying to work out the Italian for "I can't pay now". Instead they simply hand over their Mastercard and avoid the problem.
Not only is the attack misguided, it is also a little out of date. The “offensive” Mastercard ad first appeared in The Economist in July 2012. If any language schools want to offer La7 intensive English courses, now is the time...

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