RE: Friday Light: Don't Let Engineers Write Docs

Subject: RE: Friday Light: Don't Let Engineers Write Docs
From: "Steve Hudson" <sh1448291904 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "'Gene Kim-Eng'" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, <Brian -dot- Henderson -at- mitchell1 -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2016 17:59:06 +0700

Good good study
Day day up

Frequently quoted poem by the great Chairman Mao himself, showing the use of word-doubling as a means of emphasis. Study hard, always improving - or maybe just the good old school motto "sursum spectantes" to capture the pithiness of the original.

One of the major problems with the auto-translation for these document types is a dearth of even mildly technical terms, leading to overly scientific words being selected for the translation. Two obvious examples are:

> Lamps with a power dissipation much greater than total dissipation of the MIL and lamp in the tester may cause a fault indication.
> PWM solenoid valve is controlled linearly according to the duty ratio.

Another difference is that many Asian languages are preposition poor, making it difficult to elicit relationships between nouns without wordiness. Try writing technical documents with only 2 prepositions ('of' and 'at') to get a feel for Chinese translation. There is also a lack of tenses as well, so again, wordy phrases are needed for sequencing.

Then there are the complete conceptual differences, such as time being visualised as a vertical line with 'before' being 'up' and 'after' being 'down', and then the beautifully rich idioms they use, and now we are tying knots in meanings that any gorgon would be proud of. God must have created China before any other country, because Shanghai is before the ocean existed (Shang = above, hai = ocean, a state that subsidence is slowly disputing hehe).

Students good, down class = Students, class is now over.

Teacher Steve (åèèå)
(Now relocated to Thailand, so maybe ààààààà)


-----Original Message-----
From: Gene Kim-Eng

Can't speak for all Asian languages, but Chinese shares the same subject-verb-object basic sentence word placement with English, but the placement of just about every other word type is different.
Autotranslation doesn't exaggerate this difference, it just makes it painfully visible.

Gene Kim-Eng



On 4/15/2016 1:35 PM, Brian -dot- Henderson -at- mitchell1 -dot- com wrote:
> Clearly translation is part of the problem, but some of those convolutions have to be beyond even auto-trans to create.
> Although, knowing nothing about Asian languages, maybe there's a built-in complexity that auto-trans exaggerates.

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Friday Light: Don't Let Engineers Write Docs: From: Brian.Henderson
Re: Friday Light: Don't Let Engineers Write Docs: From: Peter Neilson
Re: Friday Light: Don't Let Engineers Write Docs: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: Friday Light: Don't Let Engineers Write Docs: From: Brian.Henderson
Re: Friday Light: Don't Let Engineers Write Docs: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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