Photo: Travis Fox

Here’s a great Planet Money video where you get to see Adam Davidson figuring out why jitneys in Haiti are painted so vibrantly. However, I think there’s a mistranslation at 3:48 in the video.

Driver Patrick Toulousma is translated as saying “One can read the skill of a driver from the exterior of the vehicle in question,” and Davidson, clearly not a Creole speaker, goes with that.

I don’t know Creole myself, but it sure sounds like Standard French to me, and pretty formal:  “On peut lire l’image du chauffeur à travers la véhicule en question,” literally,  “One can read the image of the driver through the vehicle in question.” If a Parisian said that to me I would translate it as, “You can pick up on the driver’s image by looking at their vehicle.”

What does Toulousma mean by “image”? I’m guessing he’s referring to glamour, which Cap’n Transit argues can influence people’s decisions about a single trip.

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