RE: Re. Imperatives or not?

Subject: RE: Re. Imperatives or not?
From: Bill Burns <BillDB -at- intl -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 08:53:59 -0600

Beth writes:

> I have been told several
> times, very emphatically, by the translations manager, that gerunds do not
> really exist in languages other than English, and that this makes them
> inaccurate, difficult, and expensive to translate.
8< snip >8

> I was wondering whether anyone else who translates their
> documentation has run into this problem with translating gerunds, and, if
> so, how you choose to deal with it.
I concur with Andres here, and I confirmed with one of our translation leads
that this stricture is unnecessary. A good translator should have no problem
with gerunds. Translators shouldn't translate word to word anyway. They
should translate based on the overall meaning of a segment (or more). A
gerund is simply syntactic element, and a good translator would use whatever
elements are available in their language to express the meaning rather than
matching words or phrases in parallel. The only time gerunds are a problem
is when it's not clear whether they are gerunds or part of a progressive
constructions, and that's a problem with clarity, not with using a
particular part of speech.

Would you expect a writer in another language to avoid locative case because
English doesn't use it? Of course not. Asking writers of English not to use
gerunds is just as absurd.

Bill Burns
Lionbridge Design & Development
Technology Consultant
Phone: 208.321.4406
Fax: 208.321.4490

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