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Subject:Re: Appalling English From:Janet_Hughes -at- ahm -dot- honda -dot- com To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Mon, 13 Nov 2000 15:38:04 -0800
I have a good example of the flip side. One of the translation houses we used
translated the word sunroof into a phrase that our readers in Portugal took
offense to. Apparently, it read something like "the hole in the car that burns
your bald head." We had complaints from a LOT of dealers in Portugal about that
phrase, but the same translation was sent to Mexico, and we had no complaints.
Localization can be EXTREMELY important in our translation world, as is using
controlled language, and a translation house that is very familiar with our
and has a data base of words and phrases that are common to our work. However,
even with all these checks in place, the point Clayton made is still very valid
"you still end up with things that appear quite amusing after the translation."
Amusing to us that is. Our customer's in Portugal were definitely NOT amused.
> I agree with David... Yosuke has brought up a lot of very good points
> about the difficulties of translations. We are faced with the
> challenges of translations where I work. We provide documentation in
> several languages (Korean, Japanese, French, German etc.) all translated
> from the English originals by an external company. There is always a
> risk of loosing the meaning when a translation happens. A good example
> is a warning label on some equipment that was translated from Japanese
> to English (on a competitors machine):
> "Do not insert your hands or other things into the opening of the
> Or else you will be caught and have a pain."
> The concept is still clear enough that you get the idea, but the
> language used sounds odd. One of the steps we take to try an help the
> process is writing in a controlled English... a limited dictionary of
> words. This helps a lot, and many companies are taking this approach.
> Even with all the efforts made, you still end up with things that appear
> quite amusing after the translation.
> So, this leads to my questions... what are people doing to try to
> rectify this? Do you use a controlled language everyday? Or at all?
> If you do, does it help? Is there any thought given to the idea that
> your readers may not be native speakers of whatever language you are
> writing in? (Native speakers may not have problems with chatty writing
> (like this email), but what about readers from Japan, Korea, Mexico etc.
> who have learned English as a second or third language?)
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Janet_Hughes -at- ahm -dot- honda -dot- com
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