It’s never been my intention to have a pop at foreigners’ bad English, but there must be limits. And I would have expected a world-renowned site like the Alhambra to have stayed well within those limits. Obviously not.

As a translation of Espacio visitable una vez, Visitable space once simply doesn’t work.

While the word visitable does exist in English, it makes more sense to recast it along the lines of may be visited. Nor does space work in English so area – itself not entirely satisfactory – has to be used instead. My preferred translation (see below) has seven words rather than three but is comprehensible and, most important of all, English.

Since once is the Spanish for eleven, I am tempted to view Visitable space once not as English at all but rather as a form of nonsense Spanish, which might be pronounced something like [bisiˈtaβle (e)ˈspaθe ˈonθe]. So, to my eyes at least and in a curiously circular fashion, it might just be that the Spanish has in fact been translated into nonsense Spanish.

As for The itinerary was be detoured by labours of maintenance, it is difficult to see this as a literal translation (or even a machine translation) since no language uses a construction like was be detoured.

But perhaps the single most egregious aspect of these attempts at English is the comma in Sorry, the inconveniences: its very presence requires the reader to read it and its precise purpose continues to elude me long after savouring Granada’s delights.

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Proposed translations:

This area may be visited only once.

Temporary rerouting due to maintenance. | We apologise for any inconvenience.

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(Photos taken in April 2014)