This week, internet translation engines. On the one hand they are free and easily accessible, on the other they make you sound like a twerp. Hmm …
Lost in translation
I hear that the mighty MIPIM property fair in Cannes is facing a threat this year. The upstart goes by the name of the Real Congress, and it is to take place down the coast in Monaco. So, what chance does it have of dethroning the grand high wizard of the jollies? Not much, I suspect. For one thing, it doesn't quite speak our language. Its press release welcomes us to "the international branch congress for trade real estates" and goes on to discuss how (and I quote) "the german-chinese trade relations developed with breath-robbing speed to a success story".

All of which illustrates why hiring a translator is better than putting your text into an internet translation program and pressing "enter".

Looking back in anger
Speaking of MIPIM, I hear the organisers, Reed Midem, are pursuing firms who decided not to register this year. One regular whose membership has lapsed has just had a call to enquire whether he was "going to take his usual room at the Martinez". His response was rather blunt. "You get absolutely nothing for registering. I was given accommodation that was like a Butlins holiday camp last time. That was the final straw." Who needs Victor Meldrew when we've got this chap?

Speaking the unspeakable
There have been many interesting suggestions of late about solving the country's worsening housing crisis. Top marks for thinking the unthinkable goes to a Russian "academic". The good gentleman rose from the gallery at a Greater London Authority meeting on flood prevention in the Thames Gateway. He begged to remind those present that "universal sterilisation and deportation are better than genocide and famine". John Prescott take note.

Stamp of identity
Congratulations to architect Shillam + Smith, which has leaped like a jet-assisted banshee to take advantage of the Royal Mail's "print your own stamp" scheme. The new "Smart Stamp" software package allows those of an artistic bent to create personalised stamps and use them for regular postage. Shillam + Smith has designed a set of five featuring its own buildings alongside its logo. Personally, I plan to use a profile of myself wearing a tiara and a string of pearls.

The medal detectors
I hear the dear old RIBA has announced that all buildings anywhere in the world will henceforth be eligible for one of its awards – as long as it is designed by a UK practice. "The RIBA awards are beginning to reflect the way Britain uniquely exports the work of its architects to the world," gushes awards director Tony Chapman. Put this into an internet translation program and it comes out as "more gongs for the boys" …

It’s the tellysubbies

The latest construction television show, ITV’s With a Little Help From My Friends, is a PR person’s wet dream, but is swiftly turning into a bit of a nightmare for my colleagues. The idea of the show is to get a celebrity to build something using a workforce of their old schoolfriends, and no money. Hence the need to get manufacturers and contractors to help out in return for a spot of publicity. While we’re on the subject, could those firms planning to send us a press release about the programme please note that they are held in a queue and will be plugged as soon as a journalist becomes free.