Re: Mixing metaphors?

Subject: Re: Mixing metaphors?
From: Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 2010 16:25:50 -0800

On Sat, Jan 30, 2010 at 4:32 AM, voxwoman <voxwoman -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

> But would we use these phrases in technical documentation that is likely to
> be translated and/or used by people who are not native English speakers? I
> know I would not.
> -Wendy
It does sound a lot like the language is intended for marketing rather than
technical purposes. In this instance I would defer to the client's
understanding of their target market.

I'm amazed at how Deborah's initial question opened up such a rich
discussion of the use of idiomatic phrases in language. I am especially
intrigued by the history of the phrases.

Until now I've only been familiar with the biblical usage of the
"double/two-edged sword". Aside from the passage in revelation, the writer
of Hebrews says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any
double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints
and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Heb 4:12)

In this case it works, because the intent of the language is poetic, to
create an image the audience was used to. I would venture that at the time
of writing, the double-edged sword was the most powerful weapon known to
man. Had the passage been written today, they may have compared the word of
God to a more advanced technological weapon that offered both the power and
precision of a sword. (Somehow "nunchucks" doesn't immediately register).

Regarding the issue of translation, even the phrase itself was translated
from Greek to Latin, and all known languages. I'm not sure the strength of
the image translates equally between cultures.

Tony Chung: Creative Communications
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Fonts for translation: From: Chinell, David F (GE EntSol, Security)
Re: Fonts for translation: From: Leslie Turriff
Mixing metaphors?: From: Deborah Hemstreet
Re: Mixing metaphors?: From: Milan Davidović
Re: Mixing metaphors?: From: Tony Chung
Re: Mixing metaphors?: From: Deborah Hemstreet
Re: Mixing metaphors?: From: Geoff Lane
Re: Mixing metaphors?: From: quills
Re: Mixing metaphors?: From: Geoff Lane
Re: Mixing metaphors?: From: voxwoman

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