The mobile phone translator app won’t help

Cricket Australia has a series of advertisements encouraging social participation by fans at international matches this summer. This afternoon I was standing on a platform at Town Hall station and I saw someone obviously from a non-English speaking background look at an advertisement opposite and type something into his mobile phone. It’s not that I was deliberately looking at his mobile phone, but he was standing right next to me.

The advertisement shows three men, about 25, 50 and 75, sitting outside the Members’ Stand gate at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The caption reads: Three generations vs Pakistan. Good luck finding that on a mobile phone translator app. Even if it tells you the separate meaning of ‘three generations’, ‘vs’ and ‘Pakistan’, it won’t tell you the communicative intent of the whole.

I got on the first train, but he was obviously waiting for a later one, so I didn’t see whether he found what he was looking for. At least he wasn’t on the next platform, where the advertisement was The Richies vs Pakistan. I challenge anyone not from Australia to figure that one!

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