Episodes Hebrew Gravestone Debacle

The Guardian’s Shortcuts blog reports a linguistic mishap concerning the British version of the TV show “Episodes” and featuring a Hebrew-inscribed gravestone. The Episode in question has Merc Lapidus, one of the main characters (I’m taking their word for it – I’ve never watched the thing), attending the funeral of his father. Apparently, though, the producers cut some corners during the research phase of script development, and the Hebrew portion of Lapidus Senior’s gravestone displays the sort of backwards, mirror-writing Hebrew which you’re familiar with if you’ve worked even an hour of Hebrew QA in your life. If that weren’t enough, if you actually try to read the backwards text, you’ll discover that “dearly missed” has been translated to “expensively soured” (or, as the Guardian endearingly phrases it, “pickled at great expense”).

The message here is quite clear, but let’s make it explicit anyway: producers, use some of that cushy budget of yours to hire a well-qualified Hebrew translator to consult on all of your linguistic needs, and pay them well. You’ll be glad you did (or, more likely, sorry if you don’t).

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