Jul 31, 2002
Jul 30, 2002
BBC: Language chief calls for united front
Internet News: Microsoft getting cozy with Lionbridge
News 24: Peres blasts 'bad translation'
Philly Inquirer: Key to an Ancient Tongue: Sumerian Dictionary in the Making
Meanwhile in the corporate world, DaimlerChrysler partners with Systran for some gobbledeegook machine translation. Ok, granted. For their purposes it makes sense. On a related note: where do translators fit into machine translation?
Jul 29, 2002
Jul 25, 2002
Jul 24, 2002
Available Only for the Portuguese Women in Messines.
If this is true it's the best prank ever played on Portuguese women.
The translation into English of this astounding piece of news is provided courtesy of The Globo Ocular Peludo Translation Services and Snarkiness Unlimited. Pat has also translated the whole article and has more links for those interested in tracking down this meme.
Jul 16, 2002
Jul 13, 2002
Jul 12, 2002
Jul 11, 2002
Well, if you insist, take a look at these:
The many languages of the Internet- with an overview on some online translation resources.
Cool down the rhetoric about English - The English as a Lingua Franca conundrum and a balanced opinion on the status of English in Japan
F U Cn Rd Ths, So Can Translator - text messaging language is on the rise.
Jul 10, 2002
Jul 9, 2002
By the way, how do you say 'mouse' in Kannada?
Or translate 22 math and science textbooks in only 5 months?
I know the answer for that one. Very fast.
And should anyone be surprised to find that English is harder to learn than several Latin origin languages?
But the crowning jewel is this one: Harry Potter Shanghaied.
Other than that: is malice a false cognate or is Danilo the bearer of a translatorial revelation?
Jul 8, 2002
"A swan and cygnets nothing more
Background of silver, reedy shore,
Dim shapes of rounded trees,
The high effulgence of a summer sky."
Jul 6, 2002
I've checked and give my mermological sign of approval to:
english usage news
americans for a third way
BTW, congratulations Prentiss and James, you're in the list!
Jul 5, 2002
Almost half of the UK's top 100 companies do not have any foreign content on their websites, according to a study by SDL*, a language specialist. Should we be appalled? Not really.
For one thing, translating a big website is expensive. If a company decides the cost outweighs the benefit, that is a reasonable commercial judgment. For another, the commercial web is still in its infancy; and there is evidence that companies are trying, even if they have not got far yet.
What is worrying is that few organisations have a consistent language policy on what is, after all, the worldwide web. Too often, the result is a mess.
Let's start with the exceptions. Some of the big technology providers have created massive multilingual sites based on a common template. Try International Business Machines (www.ibm.com), Xerox (www.xerox.com) or Microsoft (www.microsoft.com). Vodafone (www.vodafone.com) has an effective approach, too. An eclectic bunch of local sites - in Albanian and Romanian, among others - are grouped in a Vodafone.com frame.
Electrolux (www.electrolux.com) shows that organisation, rather than translation itself, is the key. Most, though not all, national subsidiaries use the same template but have modules of translated content dropped in as relevant. This is localisation, not just translation, at relatively low cost.
I would expect the big travel operators to be fluent in other languages. Some are. Most airlines have a range of non-English sites, though among the giants Delta (www.delta.com) and American Airlines (www.aa.com) reinforce prejudices about American monolingualism.
And why are the big hotel groups so hopeless? The only non-English site I could find was a Japanese one from Marriott (www.marriott.com). "Business users are three times as likely to buy when addressed in their own language," SDL tells me.
Upmarket global brands should surely speak to their wealthy clients in their own languages, yet hardly any do. Even the best efforts, such as Jaguar's (www.jaguar.com), have gone only some of the way. While Japan and big European countries have fully translated sites, Latin Americans have to cope with English, while Scandinavians are offered an Anglo-local hybrid.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars (www.rollsroycemotorcars.co.uk) has a remarkable multi-language search engine for second-hand Rollers (search in Italian for a car in Belgium), but lacks non-English material on new cars. Burberry (www.burberry.com) is in English only, Le Creuset (www.lecreuset.com) adds English material to its French site but all other material is in English, while Bang & Olufsen (www.bang-olufsen.com) is entirely in English. It is intriguing that non-Anglophone companies often feel that producing a site in English only (B&O is Danish) is sufficient internationalism.
The lack of language policy is even more clear on corporate sites. While many offer plenty of non-English material, it is inconsistent and - just as confusing - inconsistently presented. So GlaxoSmithKline (www.gsk.com) takes us to sites in many different countries from the home page - but clicking on El Salvador, we find nothing in Spanish.
Like GSK, BP (www.bp.com) and HSBC (www.hsbc.com) use intermediate pages to introduce sites for specific countries. Not only are these pages in English but the use of language is also inconsistent. HSBC, "the world's local bank", has an English-only site in that most Francophone African country, Ivory Coast. Unilever (www.unilever.com) has no links to non-English material but if you replace .com with .de you find yourself in a German site. The same trick works with other European suffixes though not, strangely, with .fr.
Final proof that large corporations have yet to get to grips with the language issue comes from the normally impeccably thorough General Electric. The point about this site is that you can find any product or service you want from the home page (www.ge.com) - unless, that is, you want to know about it in a foreign language. Click on "healthcare", and you are sent to an all-English home page. But type in www.gemedical.com and you find an immaculate multilingual offering.
One company that has got it right is Electrolux. It started work on localisation several years ago and developed its own process to allow copy to be translated locally using a split screen. In other words, it has a mass production system whereas the other giants are still largely in the costly age of hand-building.
Where does the expense of translation leave small organisations? Well, they should at least consider machine translation. Yes, it produces clunky and sometimes farcical results - but if you want to communicate with a prospective Portuguese customer, it may be better to offer bad Portuguese than good English.
That is what Queen Ethelburga's school in York (www.queenethelburgas.edu) does. It provides eight languages, including Korean and Japanese, to lure prospective parents.
"This is a computer translation of the original web page," it says. "It should not be regarded as complete or accurate."
Fair enough - though it perhaps would help if the warning itself were translated.
* For more info: SDL International Multilingual Content Survey of FTSE 100 Companies.
Ok, now I would like an Economist article on the gastronomic performance of different polpetone eaters at the cantina Jardim di Napoli.
Maybe I will provide an account myself, that is tomorrow, after my Português para Tradutores course. Look at it like this: you can never know too much Portuguese or have too much sex. Or too many dictionaries and glossaries.
Jul 4, 2002
Sigmund Freud Complete Works in New Translation. Next month, the first major translations of Freud's work for over 30 years will be published by Penguin. Under the general editorship of Adam Phillips, the 15 volumes will include Freud on the unconscious, on jokes, and on dreams and hysteria.
a. You are miserable unless you can get up at 11 a.m. and go to bed at 3:00 a.m.
b. Your working wardrobe consists of jeans (shorts) and sweatshirts (t-shirts), which you store conveniently on the floor of your closet.
c. You are prone to carpal tunnel syndrome and backache.
d. You are alone with a computer all day; when you are with other people you tend to jabber.
e. Your bathrobe is what you are apt to be wearing at 2 in the afternoon.
f. You are sick of looking at four walls all day and are dying to go out to dinner.
g. You know many words in your second language that you do not know how to pronounce.
h. You have met most of the professional colleagues you know through e-mail or Internet chat rooms (or at conferences.)
i. At home you are always working or thinking about work, so the best way to spend quality time with your family is to travel together.
j. You struggle not to gain weight from spending all day sitting on your duff and the constant availability of your refrigerator and your work leaves you little time for exercise.
k. You stay up half the night stewing about how you'll translate a term the next day.
l. Your favorite dictionaries are battered from the rough treatment they get on your desk when you are in a "term - search frenzy."
m. It drives you nuts to be asked if you ever did
'simultaneous translation' for a celebrity.
n. You are chronically tired and short of money, and you suspect that the world underrates how hard you work and how much you contribute.
a. You can rise at 6:30 a.m. many days in a row.
b. Your working wardrobe consists of suits, which you keep wrapped in plastic to avoid wrinkles and expedite packing.
c. You are prone to sore throats and foot problems.
d. You talk all day; in your leisure time, you frequently just want to be quiet.
e. Your bathrobe has been to hotels all over the globe and in half the cities in Brazil. You are sick of hotel and restaurant meals and are dying for home-cooked food.
g. You know many words in your second language that you have never seen written down.
h. You have met most of the professional colleagues you know on interpreting assignments (or at conferences.)
i. You are always traveling and long to be at home more so you can spend quality time with your family.
j. You struggle not to gain weight from constant exposure to banquet and catered meals and your work leaves you little time for exercise.
k. You stay up half the night stewing about the way you interpreted a term.
l. Your favorite dictionaries are battered from rough treatment by baggage handlers.
m. It drives you nuts to have the work you do referred to as 'translation'.
n. You are chronically tired and short of money and you suspect that the world underrates how hard you work and how much you contribute.
Jul 3, 2002
On Monday I was kicking myself too. Somebody said "Vou dar o meu pitaco" and it didn't occur to me fast enough that the bestest, most idiomatic translation for this expression was "Here's my two cents". Necessity is the mother of paraphrasing.