Overuse of gerunds in headings? (Take II)

Subject: Overuse of gerunds in headings? (Take II)
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: VERKERKEN Wouter <Wouter -dot- VERKERKEN -at- swift -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2006 09:44:29 -0400

Wouter VERKERKEN wondered: <<Slightly different question about the use of gerunds in headings. I have heard that gerunds produce bad results after automatic translation.>>

This is possibly a problem if you're using Google to translate from a language you don't actually understand, and can't be bothered to hire a professional, but in machine-assisted translation, a human mind should always be reviewing the translation or picking the correct translation from a list of "memorized" options, and such problems should never arise. If they do, fire your translator--they're incompetent--and hire a pro.

<<As a Dutch native speaker I can understand that it would not be a good idea to translate, for example, "Installing x" literally into my mother tongue. Does anyone have input on this issue?>>

I work professionally as a French to English translator, and I can tell you that nobody who knows what they're doing will do literal translations unless their primary goal is to amuse their friends and lose their clients. Translation involves preserving the _meaning_, not the words*, and anyone who tells you otherwise shouldn't be doing translation for a living.

* There are, of course, exceptions. For example, you don't translate company names and other proper nouns unless you've confirmed with the author that this is necessary (e.g., there's an official translation for the target country) or helpful.

Moreover, in some cases you don't even translate the meaning, but instead choose a wording that accomplishes the same goal in the target language that the author was trying to accomplish in the original language. That's very true in advertising, for example, and often true in literary translation as well (e.g., some metaphors or jokes don't translate between cultures).

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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RE: Overuse of gerunds in headings: From: VERKERKEN Wouter

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