Contrary to the conventional wisdom that would have us believe meaning is lost in translation, the following illustrates a situation in which several passes through the filters of intra-lingual syntax and entendre have served to distill the true essence of that which was communicated; demonstrating a richness of subtlety and nuance that would not otherwise have been possible.


While Madonna was in Hungary filming her latest magnum opus, Evita, she was interviewed by the Budapest newspaper Blikk. Questions in Hungarian were translated into English and asked of Madonna, whose replies were then translated back into Hungarian for consumption by her Budapestian fans. Shortly after publication, USA Today requested that the entire interview be translated back into English. This is the result.

Blikk:

Madonna, Budapest says hello with arms that are spread-eagled. Did you have a visit here that was agreeable? Are you in good odor? You are the biggest fan of our young people who hear your musical productions and like to move their bodies in response.

Madonna:

Thank you for saying these compliments [holds up hands]. Please stop with taking sensationalist photographs until I have removed my garments for all to see [laughs]. This is a joke I have made.

Blikk:

Madonna, let's cut toward the hunt: Are you a bold hussy-woman that feasts on men who are toys?

Madonna:

Yes, yes, this is certainly something that brings to the surface my longings. In America it is not considered to be mentally ill when a woman advances on her prey in a discotheque setting with hardy cocktails present. And there is more normal attitude toward leather play-toys that also makes my day.

Blikk:

Is this how you met Carlos, your love-servant who is reputed? Did you know he was heaven-sent right off the stick? Or were you dating many other people in your bed at the same time?

Madonna:

No, he was the only one I was dating in my bed then, so it is scientific fact that the baby was made in my womb using him. But as regards these questions, enough! I am a woman and not a test-mouse! Carlos is an everyday person who is in the orbit of a star who is being muscle-trained by him, not as a sex machine.

Blikk:

May we talk with you about your other `baby,' your movie, then? Please do not be denying that the similarities between you and the real Evita are grounded in basis. Power, money, tasty food, Grammys - all these elements are afoot.

Madonna:

What is up in the air with you? Evita never was winning a Grammy!

Blikk:

Perhaps not. But as to your film, in trying to bring your reputation along a rocky road, can you make people forget the bad explosions of Who's That Girl? and Shanghai Surprise?

Madonna:

I am a tip-top starlet. That is my job that I am paid to do.

Blikk:

OK, here's a question from left space: What was your book Slut about?

Madonna:

It was called Sex, my book.

Blikk:

Not in Hungary. Here it was called Slut. How did it come to publish? Were you lovemaking with a man-about-town printer? Do you prefer making suggestive literature to fast-selling CDs?

Madonna:

These are different facets to my career highway. I am preferring to become respected all over the map as a 100% artist.

Blikk:

There is much interest in you from this geographic region, so I must ask this final questions: How many Hungarian men have you dated in bed? Are they No. 1? How are they comparing to Argentine men, who are famous for being tip-top as well?

Madonna:

Well, to avoid aggravating global tension, I would say it's a tie [laughs]. No, no, I am serious now. See here, I am working like a canine all the way around the clock! I have been too busy even to try the goulash that makes your country one for the record books.

Blikk:

Thank you for your candid chitchat.

Madonna:

No problem, friend who is a girl.