Asian English

Subject: Asian English
From: Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG>
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 1994 13:38:50 -0700

>Put the plates on the table with the dots underneath, ...
> [dominoes instructions in barely comprehensible English]


Like the previous example about soaking the toy dinosaurs in water to make
them grow, these instructions are not bad, once you get past the obvious
lack of facility in english.

I once reviewed a book that featured a quote on its cover from Andy Rooney,
who said it was the first computer book he'd read that didn't seem as though
it had been translated from japanese. Ha, ha.

Translations usually sound OK when they're written by facile speakers of the
target language. The reason we get so many examples like the above is that
there aren't many facile writers of english who understand asian languages.
The few there are make good livings at it and have long backlogs.

If we were as interested in asian languages and culture as we are in asian
products, we'd have better manuals for our toy dinosaurs, dominoes, and VCRs.


Richard Mateosian srm -at- c2 -dot- org srm -at- radiomail -dot- net (510)540-7745

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