An Obstinate General of the Army
by Tania Marques-Cardoso
(Sao Paulo, Brazil)
One of the most "classic" translation errors in Brazilian Portuguese can be found in "The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism: From Hobbes to Locke", by Crawford Brough Macpherson ("A teoria política do individualismo possessivo de Hobbes até Locke" (Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra).
In it, the expression "general will" was not translated as "vontade geral" ("the will of all"), but as if it were an Army general named William and called "Will" by everyone. Now, just imagine how much confusion this could promote in an unprepared reader... Believe it or not, it is all true!