Author Topic: [rant]why do english/chinese companies don't give a damn about other languages..  (Read 17558 times)

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Online JPortici

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.. but offer translated versions of their website/documentation anyway?
why can't you pay a professional to translate your website instead of relying on google translate?

(I actually wanted to say that they don't give two shits but i think that maybe it's not title-appropriate)

for example, fluke 117 (apply to every page in the fluke website)
Display - Digital: 6,000 counts, updates 4 per second

in italian it was translated as "updates every 4 seconds". what the hell!!

i'm not asking for a perfect translation but at least avoid these  :palm:-grade errors
after all we give it a honest try

and don't get me started on manuals.  :scared:
 

Online daqq

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why can't you pay a professional to translate your website instead of relying on google translate?
I agree that if there is a different language version available it should be done professionally, but I do understand when companies choose not to translate into other languages - if you are an engineer you just need to know English on some usable level. Also, I'm guessing that 0.079% of the revenue of these companies is generated by Slovakia (my country) and similar?

Professional translation of highly technical texts into different languages can get expensive.
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Offline StuUK

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Offline rollatorwieltje

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The company I work for only makes the English and Dutch manuals for our products, the rest is translated by a translation agency. There are obviously different quality levels available, if you want perfect "legal grade", be prepared to pull your wallet. I suspect most of our translations are done by international students as a side job.

Some countries require operator manuals in their native language, even though everybody uses the English one anyway.
 

Offline setq

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This is why:

 

Offline Delta

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why can't you pay a professional to translate your website instead of relying on google translate?
I agree that if there is a different language version available it should be done professionally, but I do understand when companies choose not to translate into other languages - if you are an engineer you just need to know English on some usable level. Also, I'm guessing that 0.079% of the revenue of these companies is generated by Slovakia (my country) and similar?

Professional translation of highly technical texts into different languages can get expensive.

That's about the size of it; it all comes down to money.  A cost / benefit analysis.

If it will cost X to translate this document into ######, will it gain us more than X in extra profit?  If the answer's no, then Google translate it is!
 

Offline Jeff_Birt

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My Mom used to work for a Vietnamese women here in the United States. She was raised in Vietnam, went to university in Japan (aerospace engineering), and immigrated to the USA. So she was an engineer who speaks at least three languages fluently. After working in the aerospace field for many years she was hired by Honda as a translator. They fly her around the world to serve as a translator between different engineering teams because she knows engineering terminology and can communicate that in multiple languages. This is just one example of the lengths and expense that companies go through to work/communicate effectively in just a few languages. Now multiply that by 200 or more languages and it becomes an enormous and expensive problem. When it is not done properly we wind up with things like Chinglish manuals ?

 
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Offline coppice

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This is why:


Its not just the Chinese who have this issue. Look at this from the UK:

This looks fine unless you can read Welsh, where the lower part apparently says "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated."
 
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Offline Delta

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The amount of taxpayers' money wasted in Wales on dual language signs and paperwork etc is ridiculous.  Less than one in five of them can speak Welsh, and you won't find a single one who can't speak English.

There was a story a few years ago about a new hospital that opened in Wales, and the "Ward 1", "Ward 2" signs were only in English.  Of course the Taffia got on their high-horse about it, and Welsh signs were added next to them.  The Welsh word for "ward" is...................... "ward".  :palm:

And don't even get me started on BBC Alba....
 

Offline setq

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Hahaha I just ran it through Google Translator and that's exactly what it says.

Agree with Delta

This doesn't surprise me. The only reason people write/talk Welsh is to be bloody awkward.

As for BBC Alba, I have a toddler and I get shafted by "I want to watch that episode of Bing" on iPlayer. "You can't, it's in Welsh". Fffffuuuu.
 
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Offline all_repair

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It cost money, and not a small sum to those companies that are selling to the hobbyists.  And these manuals are normally written by the engineers, and they are extremely difficult to understand even for people who know Chinese.  It is almost written as their log books.
 

Online JPortici

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_total_number_of_speakers

Looks like you're 18th in line/queue  ;)
[still rant] then don't translate. :scared: should i tell fluke that the intern they put to manage the website wrote that their italian meters update every four seconds?
 

Offline Delta

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[still rant] then don't translate. :scared: should i tell fluke that the intern they put to manage the website wrote that their italian meters update every four seconds?

Yes.  Yes you certainly could.  Maybe even hint that your purchasing manager was going to place a bulk order for new DMMs but the engineering manager made him buy a different brand due to the poor update time...  >:D

You are right though: do a job properly or not at all.
 

Offline dannyf

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A simple cost and benefit analysis: between English and Chinese, you can cover 99 percent of your target market. Then why bother with the last 1 percent?

Figuratively speaking.

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Offline AntiProtonBoy

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I develop apps and I can attest that translating a million different things is a major pain in the arse. It's a maintenance nightmare and often foreign language versions of text gets out of date pretty quickly. Every time you make a minor edit to English text, that change must be reflected in other languages as well and go through all the channels that do the translation for you. dannyf has a point, huge chunk of your market already speaks English and it's not worth the effort and expense to offer translations.
 

Offline RGB255_0_0

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This is why:


Its not just the Chinese who have this issue. Look at this from the UK:

This looks fine unless you can read Welsh, where the lower part apparently says "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated."
Gaelic also. Funny they used the out of office translation there though.



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Offline TheBay

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Hahaha I just ran it through Google Translator and that's exactly what it says.

Agree with Delta

This doesn't surprise me. The only reason people write/talk Welsh is to be bloody awkward.

As for BBC Alba, I have a toddler and I get shafted by "I want to watch that episode of Bing" on iPlayer. "You can't, it's in Welsh". Fffffuuuu.

True this, to be awkward or to be pretentious!
 

Online JPortici

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A simple cost and benefit analysis: between English and Chinese, you can cover 99 percent of your target market. Then why bother with the last 1 percent?

Figuratively speaking.
well if you aim at getting more customers in some markets presenting yourself with materials in the customer's language should give you points (because you care enough to adapt to their customs), for some could also be a cultural thing.. that's how i see it.

for example, fluke with the common electrician (who could still have a low education.. and kids here are stubborn, they don't want to learn the language anyway, the idiots) so they must present themselves in italian. but the electrician will read "update every four seconds" and move on to another brand.

as i said in the OP and in every other post in this topic, you don't have to translate but if you do, damn you, do it right. i get livid when i download an app and i can't change the language to english.
 

Offline SeanB

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Come to South Africa, where we have 11 official languages, but pretty much every person is at least able to speak English to some degree. Can be fun to be in an office with a conversation going on in at least 2 languages, with all keeping up.
 

Offline ebclr

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The answer in Portuguese is

OOO
    B
    B
    B
    OOO

Something like small ooo obey Big's OOO

And actually the Big's o's ate USA and china, who cares about freench, portuguese , italian, tonganese and any othe "exotic" labguages, Read exotic as PIB
   
 

Online daqq

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but the electrician will read "update every four seconds" and move on to another brand.
If his only choosing point is whether the translation is done correctly, well, then he's not very bright really.

Quote
well if you aim at getting more customers in some markets presenting yourself with materials in the customer's language should give you points (because you care enough to adapt to their customs), for some could also be a cultural thing.. that's how i see it.
Traditionally that is the local distributors role (or sales representative) - or at least requesting one in such a language.

I'm OK with manual translations being done crappily or not at all for stuff like multimeters sold here. Provided I have access to the original English one.

Let's be honest here, if you are serious about electronics than knowing English and/or Chinese is not optional.
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Online JPortici

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Come to South Africa, where we have 11 official languages, but pretty much every person is at least able to speak English to some degree. Can be fun to be in an office with a conversation going on in at least 2 languages, with all keeping up.
our partner company is south african, constantly skype calling.. i know that very well :D

Let's be honest here, if you are serious about electronics than knowing English and/or Chinese is not optional.
go tell that to the kids  :palm:
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 05:52:18 pm by JPortici »
 

Offline Neilm

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Where I work we translate our user guides into about 20 different languages. Even going to a professional translation house causes problems.  A professional translator almost certainly does not know about electronics or the specialist applications we deal with will select the wrong word.

Of course - there are some houses I think just go for Google translate given the quality of some of the translations
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Offline dannyf

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"presenting yourself with materials in the customer's language should give you points"

You probably want to appreciate the fact that companies aren't exactly in the business of earning points, unless those points lead to profits.

That's why analyzing benefits against costs is far more important than analysing benefits alone.
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Offline darrellg

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The amount of taxpayers' money wasted in Wales on dual language signs and paperwork etc is ridiculous.  Less than one in five of them can speak Welsh, and you won't find a single one who can't speak English.
I don't know about that. I was once on a conference call with a guy from England and another guy in Wales. The Welsh guy was supposedly speaking English, but I couldn't understand a damn thing he said. The English guy had to "translate" for me.
 

Offline RGB255_0_0

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Probably from the Valleeees.

Us UKers have some brilliant accents. Scouse, Geordie, Somerset, Bristolian. Us Somerset tratt'r lot speak propa, propa liiiike.  :P
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Offline blueskull

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Is there any major non-English speaking country that does not mandate English education? I do not see the need of language variety in engineering.
Many courses I took in college in China use English as lecture note text language, and many internal documents of our lab are in English as well.
 

Offline ebclr

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Nobody speak English in China, They rarely can speak Chinglish

Look on Taobao for Bok's near 99% is in mandarim
 

Online tautech

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Nobody speak English in China, They rarely can speak Chinglish
I found much the same when I visited Siglent, all talk in the building was in Chinese although when I needed to communicate with them English was not too much problem.
But yes on the street is a different matter but if you're lucky and can get the attention of a few people you can generally be understood.  :phew:
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Offline blueskull

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Nobody speak English in China, They rarely can speak Chinglish

Look on Taobao for Bok's near 99% is in mandarim

No one speaks English in China as a daily language, but many can at least read documents in English.
Many engineering books sold in China are republished (directly copied without translation) from CRC, Prentice Hall, McGraw Hill or O'Reilly.
 

Offline nctnico

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Is there any major non-English speaking country that does not mandate English education?
France, Germany, Italy, Spain to name a few. Korea and China are also particulary bad.
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Offline AntiProtonBoy

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Germany? When did that change? When I was going to school there back in the 80s, English was a required subject.
 

Offline Cervisia

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Germany? When did that change? When I was going to school there back in the 80s, English was a required subject.

In Germany, the general qualification for university entrance ("Abitur") requires two foreign languages.
In theory, English is not required to be among them. In practice, it's unlikely that your school would even be capable of teaching you such an unusual combination.
 

Online VK3DRB

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Everything should be translated into only one language: Australian English. Why? English is the world's standard language for commerce and computing. Australian English is merely a perfection of it, which has taken us 200 years to achieve.

Seriously though, both English and French have a lot of bugs in their language, mainly with ambiguities and inconsistencies. But having masculine and feminine for nouns is simply bad design. There is no logical reason to make a language more complicated by having gender for nouns.
 

Offline coppice

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Is there any major non-English speaking country that does not mandate English education?
France, Germany, Italy, Spain to name a few. Korea and China are also particulary bad.
In Korea and China students take English throughout school and university, regardless of the main subjects they are studying. English standards may still be weak in these countries, but they do make English a high priority, and they are very keen to find ways to improve their results.
 

Offline vodka

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Is there any major non-English speaking country that does not mandate English education?
France, Germany, Italy, Spain to name a few. Korea and China are also particulary bad.

At Spain for Primary Education( Obligatory School) , Secondary education(Obligatory High School) and Bachelor(Non-obligatory High school) is mandatory during many years ago.
At change , at Universitary education is mandatory to obtain the grade B1 at English for graduate since 2010(For application Bologna Plan).

Here  the people is studying English since 8 years old(now since  5 years old)and they terminated the obligatory education with the same English that they began.
The blame isn't the students, that is the teacher that are an useless and lazy.

 I  was two years without  understanding any English.  The two teachers that i had ,they counterfeited the qualifications (They put that i understood the english)
Until that the next year came a new teacher at school ,she did us an exam for discovering which was the english level at the classroom. 

She was horrorizied and indignantly, anybody of the classroom knew to conjugate the verb "to be ". She had to do the work that the last teacher didn't do

 
 
 

Online JPortici

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Here  the people is studying English since 8 years old(now since  5 years old)and they terminated the obligatory education with the same English that they began.
The blame isn't the students, that is the teacher that are an useless and lazy.
i'm more prone to blame the kids. same situation here, i started studying english at 8, now they do it in preschool/kindergarten.
and yet at the end of high school we had half the class that couldn't be able to elaborate a sentence more complex than "the cat is on the table" while the other half had received B2 certification at 16.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Germany? When did that change? When I was going to school there back in the 80s, English was a required subject.

I have literally never met a German who couldn't manage at least a basic conversation in English, and I've met a *lot* of Germans. I've met Turkish Gastarbeiter* in Germany who could only speak Turkish or German, but no native Germans who couldn't at least manage directions to the Hauptbahnhaus or similar in English.

*If you've been to Germany you could be forgiven for thinking that Gastarbeiter was German for taxi driver, but it isn't.
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Offline blueskull

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Here  the people is studying English since 8 years old(now since  5 years old)and they terminated the obligatory education with the same English that they began.
The blame isn't the students, that is the teacher that are an useless and lazy.
i'm more prone to blame the kids. same situation here, i started studying english at 8, now they do it in preschool/kindergarten.
and yet at the end of high school we had half the class that couldn't be able to elaborate a sentence more complex than "the cat is on the table" while the other half had received B2 certification at 16.

Probably some individual factors. At the age of high school final year, I spoke Japanese (my second foreign language) better than many of my classmates speaking English.
Being said, many Chinese kids are exposed to American TV shows/musics and regular (1~2 hrs per day) English class, with some of the richer kids have native speakers to help them learning English.
Still, many cannot speak fluent English, but most well educated kids, when grow up, can understand English easily in written form and write documents in English.
Of course, I am talking about Chinese kids being raised in big, major cities with middle class parents. In undeveloped areas like northwestern China, kids are still not exposed to English enough.
I had my 4 years college life in a northwestern university, and I know many local K12 schools do not even have a single English teacher that can actually orally communicate in English.
But in developed areas, each class in final year high school or middle school has a couple of students that speak very fluent English, good enough to live in an English speaking country.

The reason you see so many poorly written eBay listings is because these people who sell on eBay in China usually do not have good education. China has 1.3 billion population, but only a small fraction can contribute to the society, which they mostly choose a highly paid job in a big international company, or state owned company, or like me, move abroad.
 

Offline John Coloccia

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Having traveled all over, for work and other reasons, one thing I've come to understand is a LOT of people speak English. Older generations, not so much. Young folks? Almost everyone seems to have a working knowledge, and as time progresses I think English will basically become the default language, much like what Esperanto wanted to be. These days, the only thing Esperanto is good for is sitting around talking about how wonderful it is that 5 other people know Esperanto.

Would have been better if another language was "the one", as English really quite terrible in many ways, but that's just how it is I think. I suspect the only reason so many manuals are in Chinese at all is that they start out in Chinese.

But I always find it amusing when I travel to a foreign country, be it Europe or Asia, and notice so many signs are in English. That always seems a little odd to me. I will say that France and Germany seem to be exceptions to this. Switzerland too in some respects. They seem to be more firmly attached to their own culture.

 

Offline Richard Crowley

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One of my favorite PBS documentaries from back in the 1980s.  "The Story of English" with Robert MacNeil.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6D54D1C7DAE31B36

At that time the largest English-speaking country (and the country pubishing the most English language books, magazines, etc.) was India. Post cold-war, things have probably changed. But the history is interesting nonetheless.
 

Offline Cerebus

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At that time the largest English-speaking country (and the country pubishing the most English language books, magazines, etc.) was India. Post cold-war, things have probably changed.

I doubt it. English is still an official language in Indian and is the Lingua Franca for all non-Hindi speaking Indians. Indian courts work in English. Remember that there are about a dozen languages in common use in Indian - there is a long history (dating back all the way to independence) of resistance to the use of Hindi as the only official language as that would severely disadvantage the non-Hindi speakers.
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Offline Macbeth

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I was quite amused at a nice torrent I found - all the Elektor magazines from 1974 to 1990. Apparently the early editions are UK but the collector realised the Indian edition was exactly the same and much cheaper too way back in 1984. The only difference are the adverts - replace Edgware Road, London with Chunam Road, Bombay  :-DD Hang on, that's Mumbai now isn't it?

But yes, I can confirm the Indian version of Elektor magazine is totally English.
 

Online JPortici

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The reason you see so many poorly written eBay listings is because these people who sell on eBay in China usually do not have good education.

well i'd give the blame to ebay's automatic translation, which is much worse than google translate (doesn't matter if you give zero stars for the translation, you can't suggest a better one. at least google asks you for that). that is embarassing too. i'm searching for this specific term, not for what you think is the translation... for example in an english ad "probe" will have a different translation based on the words used in the title  :palm:
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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These things change over time.  It used to be that Latin was the language for technical documents.  There were still remnants of that in the late nineteenth century.  Then for a long time things followed whoever was doing the best bleeding edge technical work.  The French speakers, then briefly the Germans, and for a while it was the English speakers. 

Right at the moment the good technical work is spread all over the world, and English is filling the role that Latin used to, the agreed common language of people from a wide variety of linguistic backgrounds.

If one language group starts to dominate the leading edge of techology I suspect that language will take over.  There are some signs that Chinese may be that language group, but it is too early to say for sure.  There is a lot of oil money in the middle East trying to make Arabic that language, and who knows, they may succeed.   There aren't a lot of likely candidates, and English may hang on for another century.
 

Offline sleemanj

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I think that in the first instance, English's position as the defacto common denominator language is fairly secure, but of course, language, especially English maybe more than any other, is not some rigorous stable standard and what we are speaking in another 200 years might be called English but will almost certainly be at least a bit different to what we speak now.

But in the second instance, the ability of machine translation has exploded over recent years.  It's simply amazing that, less than 20 years after babelfish.altavista.com started that we now have at least two major translation services, translating piles of languages, in basically real time, and doing a pretty reasonable job of it, so much so that you can set your web browser to auto translate pages on the fly when viewing foreign language sites and you will at least get a pretty good idea of what is being said.  Add to this the advances in voice recognition, AI, and machine learning.... I really don't think it's that far away that we will have an actual thing we can stick in our ears and be fed translated information, we might call this, the Babel Fish.  AT which time, the universal language is whatever language you choose.
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Offline tooki

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.. but offer translated versions of their website/documentation anyway?
why can't you pay a professional to translate your website instead of relying on google translate?

(I actually wanted to say that they don't give two shits but i think that maybe it's not title-appropriate)

for example, fluke 117 (apply to every page in the fluke website)
Display - Digital: 6,000 counts, updates 4 per second

in italian it was translated as "updates every 4 seconds". what the hell!!

i'm not asking for a perfect translation but at least avoid these  :palm:-grade errors
after all we give it a honest try

and don't get me started on manuals.  :scared:
I worked at a software company a few years ago, hired as a native English speaker to translate their product, and all other customer-facing text (manual, website, email templates, etc.) from German into English so they could expand beyond German-speaking countries. It's not as trivial as you think. Finding translators is easy; finding good translators is hard. But the real pickle, which AntiProtonBoy mentioned, is change management. If you change something in one place, you need to update that change throughout all the languages you support. If you're lucky, the company is using a content management system with CAT (computer aided translation)* support. Otherwise, you're sitting there comparing source document versions to find the changes the author made. Oh, and get it done by yesterday. (For sure, once a company goes to the effort of setting up good infrastructure and processes for multilingual text, adding additional languages becomes easier, but the cost for translation remains high.)

Every language you add support for, you're adding delays into product launches, updates, etc. It's often more pragmatic to support a few languages that cover lots of people.

Frankly, most companies have entirely given up on end-user documentation altogether, reducing it to quick-start guides and FAQs. I remember when computers came with 300 page manuals, applications came with 1000 page binders, etc. Documentation is expensive, and most companies seem to have decided that users do just fine without it. (And given how many users categorically refuse to consult documentation anyway, I can't entirely blame them.)




*CAT is not machine translation. CAT tools manage human-generated translations (in "translation memory" and terminology databases) and help a human translator bang out a document translation that is consistent with the company's existing translations. For example, if it knows that in prior documents, you translated "10 inch touchscreen display" into "10-Zoll Touch-Bildschirm", it will suggest that existing translation whenever it encounters that phrase, so you don't create a new translation, like "10 Zoll Touch-Display". The granularity should extend from short phrases to whole sentences, if they are often reused.
 

Offline coppice

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One of my favorite PBS documentaries from back in the 1980s.  "The Story of English" with Robert MacNeil.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6D54D1C7DAE31B36

At that time the largest English-speaking country (and the country pubishing the most English language books, magazines, etc.) was India. Post cold-war, things have probably changed. But the history is interesting nonetheless.
The largest English speaking country is still India, and its becoming more English speaking every day. The huge number of middle class Indians employed directly or indirectly by western companies, and the migration of people with a variety of mother tongues to major centres like Bangalore, are driving this. When I was in India 20 years ago it was common to hear English conversations between groups in public places, like restaurants, but they were mostly business groups using a common language. Now it is common in Bangalore to hear families talking in English, as its the only language the husband and wife share.

You have other things pushing English forward. Friends in Bangalore who are from northern India want their children taught in Hindi and English. This requires them to send their children to international schools, as the local schools teach in English plus one of a selection of Southern Indian languages. In the international schools all the kids want to learn is English. Sure, they learn to speak Hindi at home with their parents, but the schools struggle to get them to take reading and writing Hindi seriously.
 

Offline Cerebus

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These things change over time.  It used to be that Latin was the language for technical documents.  There were still remnants of that in the late nineteenth century.  Then for a long time things followed whoever was doing the best bleeding edge technical work.  The French speakers, then briefly the Germans, and for a while it was the English speakers. 

It's a bit more involved than that. Latin was the common language of scholars, French was the common language of diplomacy. Latin fell out of favour, as you say, in the late 19th Century; French held on well into the 20th Century which is why so many international bodies are or were, know by their French initials (e.g. the CCITT, now the ITU).

Thus we get the modern English use of the Latin tag Lingua Franca*  for a common language used by a group of speakers of disparate languages - a strange bastardization indeed. German never really made it as a Lingua Franca, it's technical use was restricted largely to chemistry and mathematics and its diplomatic use to the inter-related and inbred royalty of Europe.

* Literally, "language of the Francs" or as you and I would say "French".
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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In chemistry, mathematics and physics and to a lesser degree, aerodynamics,  there was a brief period when anyone who wanted to be on the forefront learned German.  Because many of the best papers were written in German.   I agree, German never really became a language that non-Germans generated documents in.

They self terminated their leadership before that developed.
 

Offline nctnico

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Germany? When did that change? When I was going to school there back in the 80s, English was a required subject.
There is a difference between learning how a language sounds and being able to have a meaningfull conversation. I had French in school for 2 years and it is barely enough for me to order something in a restaurant. Relying on English in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, etc is definitely not a good idea. The main problem is that they dub the voices in English movies and TV series in many big countries so the people never really get to learn how the English language is used (and they seem to give actors like Silvester Stallone and 'Arnie' these weird girly voices :palm: ).
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline nctnico

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Seriously though, both English and French have a lot of bugs in their language, mainly with ambiguities and inconsistencies. But having masculine and feminine for nouns is simply bad design. There is no logical reason to make a language more complicated by having gender for nouns.
You never tried to learn Dutch then!
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online JPortici

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(and they seem to give actors like Silvester Stallone and 'Arnie' these weird girly voices :palm: ).

many of the great dubbers are.. dead. Newer guys have weak voices and no expression at all.
And times have-a changed too, 15 to 5 years ago the bigger the budget the better the dubbing (before there was an overall good quality). last five years have been a nightmare, especially in TV shows. a new episode every week, all must come out the same day and there can't be spoilers. Dubbers have to work with the only script and a black screen where you only see the mouths, so they have no idea of the situation

one of the younger great voice actor hosts a radio show every sunday where he invites other voice actors to talk about their careers, make readings, phone calls and such. An orgasm for your ears :)
 

Offline vodka

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Germany? When did that change? When I was going to school there back in the 80s, English was a required subject.
There is a difference between learning how a language sounds and being able to have a meaningfull conversation. I had French in school for 2 years and it is barely enough for me to order something in a restaurant. Relying on English in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, etc is definitely not a good idea. The main problem is that they dub the voices in English movies and TV series in many big countries so the people never really get to learn how the English language is used (and they seem to give actors like Silvester Stallone and 'Arnie' these weird girly voices :palm: ).

Are you sure that Stallone and Schwarzenegger have a girl voice on spanish dub?

https://youtu.be/_YWzcWYvjGw

https://youtu.be/f-M3vvzQtnY

Let's that tomboys
 

Offline Macbeth

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I hate dubbed movies. The mouth synching is absurd. I would much rather read the subtitles, indeed I find it much quicker to get into the movie with subtitles. There is also the opportunity to use subbed movies to help learn a foreign language. I am sure this works vice versa with English movies.

But I do have exceptions, like the classic Sergio Leone "Spaghetti Westerns". The dubbing is all part of the charm then.
 

Offline Brumby

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Generating documentation in the first place is an uphill battle when management just want the application up and running.  Generating good documentation is even more difficult still.  You have people who are creating it come from a technical environment and the people using it don't.  The subsequent 'vocational culture' gap requires journalistic writing skills - not technical ones, but it is extremely rare to find someone who not only understands the technical details, but can write clearly enough for the target audience at a speed (read 'cost') that management will tolerate.

But the real pickle, which AntiProtonBoy mentioned, is change management.
Anyone who has worked in a commercial software development environment will know the challenges here and most will cringe.  The mechanical changes to things like executables, parameters, databases, etc. are enough to keep you on your toes, but documentation...?

Keeping it current is nearly impossible as they don't want to give you any time to do it.  Added to this is the all-too-frequent urgent fix that needs to be done the day before yesterday - and once it has been done, then you are thrown back onto your current project with no opportunity to do anything about documentation other than to tell management that it needs to be updated ... which they quietly ignore.

And this is for only ONE language!
 
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Offline Brumby

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Seriously though, both English and French have a lot of bugs in their language, mainly with ambiguities and inconsistencies. But having masculine and feminine for nouns is simply bad design. There is no logical reason to make a language more complicated by having gender for nouns.

Here's my fave on the subject of 'making a language more complicated'....

How many different ways can you pronounce "ough" in the English language?
 

Offline blueskull

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How many different ways can you pronounce "ough" in the English language?

Average Japanese kanjis have more than or equal to 3 pronunciations, while some have more than 5.
Average Chinese characters have 1 or 2 pronunciations, while in some rare cases, up to 6.
AFAIK, "ough" can be pronounced "au", "ou", "af", "of". Additions are welcomed.
 

Offline Brumby

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I've done the exercise for "ough" - and there are more.....


Trivia:  I was first inspired to check this out when an episode of  'The Flying Nun' had an English lesson where one of the characters was reading out an English text...
 

Offline coppice

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Most of the bad Chinese/English translations we see are in one direction - Chinese to English. Here's a nice example of an amusing bad English to Chinese translation at York Railway Station, in the UK, that will amuse the bilingual among you:

 

Offline Tomorokoshi

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Most of the bad Chinese/English translations we see are in one direction - Chinese to English. Here's a nice example of an amusing bad English to Chinese translation at York Railway Station, in the UK, that will amuse the bilingual among you:

Where does the correct luggage go?
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Most of the bad Chinese/English translations we see are in one direction - Chinese to English. Here's a nice example of an amusing bad English to Chinese translation at York Railway Station, in the UK, that will amuse the bilingual among you:

Where does the correct luggage go?

I don't know about the Chinese part, but the English part can be confusing to speakers of American English.  I am assuming that "left luggage" in UK English translates to "missing luggage" or "lost luggage" in American English.

 

Offline coppice

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Most of the bad Chinese/English translations we see are in one direction - Chinese to English. Here's a nice example of an amusing bad English to Chinese translation at York Railway Station, in the UK, that will amuse the bilingual among you:

Where does the correct luggage go?

I don't know about the Chinese part, but the English part can be confusing to speakers of American English.  I am assuming that "left luggage" in UK English translates to "missing luggage" or "lost luggage" in American English.
In the UK, and most other English speaking places, "Left Luggage" means a place where you can leave your stuff for safe short term storage, typically at a train station or airport. I've never seen one of these places labelled anything else..... except for this funky Chinese translation.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2020, 06:09:05 pm by coppice »
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Most of the bad Chinese/English translations we see are in one direction - Chinese to English. Here's a nice example of an amusing bad English to Chinese translation at York Railway Station, in the UK, that will amuse the bilingual among you:
Dubious translations are everywhere. Pick this one from Fluke Brasil where it says: "The Fluke 117 is the ideal multimeter for the electrician with contactless voltage reading."
[attach=1]

All electricians I met need contact to see if there is voltage on a wire. A shocking experience.  :-DD

(not to mention electrician spelled wrong in the blue black part, but that is pure spell checking fail)

P.S. I worked many years translating press releases and technical articles from English to Portuguese. It is not an easy task.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2020, 10:45:23 am by rsjsouza »
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Dubious translations are everywhere. Pick this one from Fluke Brasil where it says: "The Fluke 117 is the ideal multimeter for the electrician with contactless voltage reading."

All electricians I met need contact to see if there is voltage on a wire. A shocking experience.  :-DD

Actually, the Fluke 117 has what they call the VoltAlert technology for non-contact voltage detection. The problem is that translator who translated "The Fluke 117 is the ideal multimeter for the electrician with non-contact voltage reading" doesn't know the meter very well. It just detects if a wire is live. It is not possible to read any voltages.

Quote
(not to mention electrician spelled wrong in the blue part, but that is pure spell checking fail)

You mean the black part. The blue part is correct.
 

Online vk6zgo

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Most of the bad Chinese/English translations we see are in one direction - Chinese to English. Here's a nice example of an amusing bad English to Chinese translation at York Railway Station, in the UK, that will amuse the bilingual among you:

Where does the correct luggage go?

I don't know about the Chinese part, but the English part can be confusing to speakers of American English.  I am assuming that "left luggage" in UK English translates to "missing luggage" or "lost luggage" in American English.
In the UK, and most other English speaking places, "Left Luggage" means a place where you can leave your stuff for safe short term storage, typically at a train station or airport. I've never seen one of these places labelled anything else..... except for this funky Chinese translation.

They used to call them "cloak rooms" in Western Australia (dunno about the rest of Oz), which really confused people from countries where the same term is used as an euphemism for "public toilets".

The latter were sometimes called "Conveniences", which prompted a jot of jokes about contacting someone at their "earliest convenience".

Back in the day, there were quite a lot of early conveniences about---most have gone, now which is a bit of a shame, as some were "a work of art".
 
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Online vk6zgo

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Back in the day, we used to have a lot of trouble with German & French manuals.

The Germans normally included a "short form" English manual along with the original German one.
The translation wasn't the best, but more annoying was the difficulty in finding the appropriate diagram in the main manual.
They also truncated a lot of descriptions, which didn't help.

We eventually found it was easier to roughly translate as we went, using the much better German text.
After all, with Electronics, once you know some key words, you can usually "nut out" the rest.

The French, on the other hand, produced a complete English manual, but one which seemed to have been translated by someone with a vague knowledge of the language & a French/English dictionary.
Occasionally, they provided a French manual as well, but personally, I didn't find it as easy to understand as the German ones.
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Dubious translations are everywhere. Pick this one from Fluke Brasil where it says: "The Fluke 117 is the ideal multimeter for the electrician with contactless voltage reading."

All electricians I met need contact to see if there is voltage on a wire. A shocking experience.  :-DD

Actually, the Fluke 117 has what they call the VoltAlert technology for non-contact voltage detection. The problem is that translator who translated "The Fluke 117 is the ideal multimeter for the electrician with non-contact voltage reading" doesn't know the meter very well. It just detects if a wire is live. It is not possible to read any voltages.
That is a very common problem in translations and even with headlines in Portuguese: the way it is written it indicates the electrician itself is the one that features the NCV, not the meter. The qualifiers/adjectives must be close to the noun - in this case, they should have put the "NCV" description near the word multimeter, not electrician.

A rewriting that makes sense is "The Fluke 117 is ideal for electricians that need a multimeter with contactless voltage reading (sic)." (Should be "detection").

Quote
(not to mention electrician spelled wrong in the blue part, but that is pure spell checking fail)

You mean the black part. The blue part is correct.
Thanks. Corrected.
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline coppice

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The French, on the other hand, produced a complete English manual, but one which seemed to have been translated by someone with a vague knowledge of the language & a French/English dictionary.
From reading Thomson documentation, I don't think they ever provided their staff with a French/English dictionary.
 

Offline SeanB

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Had both the English and the original French maintenance manuals, and the French ones were sort of readable, with the assistance of a dictionary, because the English one, while keeping in lockstep with the French, down to page and paragraph number in many cases, was often something less than usable in many respects.

Think I was the first person in years who actually read the French version, thanks to the few French English dictionaries also supplied with them, though they were very much lacking in any sort of technical translations, but you could muddle through thanks to the literal translations in the 2 versions. Did not help that the entire systems I worked on were covered in only a few chapters, in the 30 volume manual, but that at least helped with being able to see the connections between the systems, and also the fact that certain parameters were passed on via separate buses, even if they were the same data, in the same format, but with some slight variation, as they were both analogue voltages. Gave a way to tell the black box changers that, despite their insistence that this unit was faulty, it was actually the sender that had drifted out of tolerance, and they thus would have to do the big job and change that, instead of trying 15 units to see if one was on the other side of the curve to compensate. Changing the easy part was quicker for them.

 

Offline blacksheeplogic

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Generating documentation in the first place is an uphill battle when management just want the application up and running.  Generating good documentation is even more difficult still.  You have people who are creating it come from a technical environment and the people using it don't.  The subsequent 'vocational culture' gap requires journalistic writing skills - not technical ones, but it is extremely rare to find someone who not only understands the technical details, but can write clearly enough for the target audience at a speed (read 'cost') that management will tolerate.

When I have written technical documentation, I was assigned a editor who reviewed the work, including it's grammar, formatting, and use of colotical terms. The editor was non-technical.  It then went though technical panel review and finally legal review. Fortunately, I was finished at that point and was not involved in NLS.

Good documentation is very expensive to produce and maintain, let alone the cost of NLS. If your low cost or low margin, this is an area your probably not going to invest in.
 
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Offline SL4P

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In public infrastructure situations, it’s always funny, because civil servants rarely give a shit, so doing ‘anything’ gets the salary paid.

Why do more if your boss is even more incompetent than you are.
Don't ask a question if you aren't willing to listen to the answer.
 

Offline Cerebus

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When I have written technical documentation, I was assigned a editor who reviewed the work, including it's grammar, formatting, and use of colotical terms. The editor was non-technical.  It then went though [a] technical panel review and finally [a] legal review. Fortunately, I was finished [with it] at that point and was not involved in NLS [non-universal term, spell out].

Good documentation is very expensive to produce and maintain, let alone the cost of NLS [non-universal term, spell out]. If your [a] low cost or low margin [operation], [then] this is an area your probably not going to invest in.

I wish you hadn't said editor in that it has activated my ex-editor gene - which means I was forced to notice every literal, grammatical error and mis-phrasing in those two short paragraphs. Painful. And let me be clear, yours is far from the worst English I've seen that needed beating into shape to make it publication ready. (The worst was probably a lawyer who used to write a computer law column for the magazine I was a section editor on.) I'm not picking on you, honestly, I'm underlining your point about needing an editor.

Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Offline Domagoj T

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You guys should consider yourselves lucky.
Over here in Croatia they like to, for some ungodly reason, translate software. And these are folks that translate into their native language. You would not believe how hard it is to find even the simple stuff such as the Control Panel in Windows, when it's all in Croatian. It's incredibly annoying with even simpler stuff, such as bringing up the Calculator app. You press the Windows key on the keyboard and start typing "Cal" and usually the top result is the Calculator, so typing "Cal" and Enter is enough so you develop muscle memory and are able to type it all out before the screen even displays the results. Then you sit in front to a machine with Croatian translation of Windows and that suddenly doesn't work any more, but you forgot that the Windows are in Croatian and try again, only to fail once more. Then you have a brain fart trying to remember what the Calculator is called in Croatian (it's Kalkulator, but "Kal" doesn't trigger the search for "Cal").

And don't even get me started on tutorials or GUIs that translate "Drop down menus", "Editor", "Debugger". That stuff is entirely incomprehensible once translated.
Some time ago I had an opportunity to talk to a guy who was so proud to be a part of the translation team for something. When I told him that he's wasting his time and that Croatian translations are less comprehensible than English originals (even to people who struggle with English) he had trouble grasping the fact that most people when they start using computers are faced with English terminology and learn and get accustomed to that, not Croatian, regardless of their general English skills.

I was forced to notice every literal, grammatical error and mis-phrasing in those two short paragraphs.
And even you missed a couple.
I was told that anything written should spellchecked then be put in a drawer and let sit for a few days. You then check it again, to find a whole bunch more stuff.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2020, 11:39:13 pm by Domagoj T »
 
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Offline blacksheeplogic

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I wish you hadn't said editor in that it has activated my ex-editor gene - which means I was forced to notice every literal, grammatical error and mis-phrasing in those two short paragraphs. Painful. And let me be clear, yours is far from the worst English I've seen that needed beating into shape to make it publication ready. (The worst was probably a lawyer who used to write a computer law column for the magazine I was a section editor on.) I'm not picking on you, honestly, I'm underlining your point about needing an editor.

Trust me, I'm well aware of my need for an editor. Just be glad you were not reviewing my first draft of a chapter. I never put my hand up to write - nobody did, it was always an assigned task.
 

Offline Cerebus

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I was forced to notice every literal, grammatical error and mis-phrasing in those two short paragraphs.
And even you missed a couple.

Truthfully, if I'd really been his editor I would have probably gone for a re-write rather than pick out the errors for correction.

What's genuinely frustrating is that 'blue-pencil' markup:



 intended for feeding back editorial corrections to a typographer or writer, is strictly rooted in the paper age. There's only a much weaker set of conventions for use in computer based editing - for instance, you can't easily mark something up as "swap these words, this way". Editing paper galleys I could do a page a minute, doing the same thing on a screen takes five times longer.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Offline SiliconWizard

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.. but offer translated versions of their website/documentation anyway?
why can't you pay a professional to translate your website instead of relying on google translate?

Because websites change frequently. Keeping all translations up to date is close to impossible, or would require full-time translators in some cases.
Documentation itself evolves a lot less frequently.

Try this yourself and you'll see.
 

Offline Domagoj T

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Editing paper galleys I could do a page a minute, doing the same thing on a screen takes five times longer.
Is that because of lack of software/tools/file formats or is the medium itself the issue? A bit off topic, but I'm thinking about e-ink readers. Those things have fairly decent note taking capabilities. Wouldn't that work pretty much like physical paper?
 

Offline Cerebus

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Editing paper galleys I could do a page a minute, doing the same thing on a screen takes five times longer.
Is that because of lack of software/tools/file formats or is the medium itself the issue? A bit off topic, but I'm thinking about e-ink readers. Those things have fairly decent note taking capabilities. Wouldn't that work pretty much like physical paper?

If you could draw on it like paper and pass it back to the production desk, then yes, it would be as quick. It's things that are trivial to mark on paper but take time if you have to position a cursor, select, type, copy paste etc. that are the problem. Moreover, in something like magazine production you're marking up for the sub-editors - you don't want to be doing the actual editing yourself because it breaks up the subs workflow. There's a couple of hundred years of experience that optimised the standard workflow, which remains pretty much the same as it did even if the sub-editors are using computers instead of paper and the art/layout people are using computers instead of traditional methods. There are very tightly integrated electronic workflows available for newspapers, but nothing quite as slick for magazines which are typically much more variable issue to issue than newspapers are.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Offline GlennSprigg

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They for real does cair!!!
Just pleese puttings the happy screws in the exciting panel,
and you will be very soon jumpings to the happy tunes!!!  :phew:
 
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Offline Cerebus

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The problem here Glenn is that with your , erm, idiosyncratic approach to English we can't tell whether this is a parody or you're just having a bad day.  :)
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Offline GlennSprigg

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The problem here Glenn is that with your , erm, idiosyncratic approach to English we can't tell whether this is a parody or you're just having a bad day.  :)

And THAT's why I will continue to tell people about the Demi-Gods here who like to judge people from their Ivory Towers!!   And you are just a typical BULLY who obviously gets off on putting people down. I'm sure you have an Orgasm at night in bed, dreaming about your self appointed 'wonderfulness'...  Too many 'callouses' on your hand mate, for me to give a fuck about!!!   :palm:

I doubt there is another member here who didn't see/understand what I was saying.
In obvious JEST about fabrication instructions etc. Do you think I'm against Chinese people? (Nope... in my family).
OH!!!   I get it!!!   You don't like my CARRIAGE RETURNS when I type....  Well the World is really over!!!!!!!
Here's a HINT... Don't READ my posts!!!!!!   you arrogant Bozo   :-DD

People that KNOW me, know I don't have long for this world. In the mean time, with what I have left, I interact
with kind people, and it gives me a little bit of pleasure. I guess I need to find out how to BLOCK you, and 5 other
people like you, so that I can finish my time in peace.  I was having a 'moderate' day today. But YOU ruined it...
« Last Edit: March 17, 2020, 02:24:37 pm by GlennSprigg »
 

Offline Cerebus

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The problem here Glenn is that with your , erm, idiosyncratic approach to English we can't tell whether this is a parody or you're just having a bad day.  :)

And THAT's why I will continue to tell people about the Demi-Gods here who like to judge people from their Ivory Towers!!   And you are just a typical BULLY who obviously gets off on putting people down. I'm sure you have an Orgasm at night in bed, dreaming about your self appointed 'wonderfulness'...  Too many 'callouses' on your hand mate, for me to give a fuck about!!!   :palm:

I doubt there is another member here who didn't see/understand what I was saying.
In obvious JEST about fabrication instructions etc. Do you think I'm against Chinese people? (Nope... in my family).
OH!!!   I get it!!!   You don't like my CARRIAGE RETURNS when I type....  Well the World is really over!!!!!!!
Here's a HINT... Don't READ my posts!!!!!!   you arrogant Bozo   :-DD

People that KNOW me, know I don't have long for this world. In the mean time, with what I have left, I interact
with kind people, and it gives me a little bit of pleasure. I guess I need to find out how to BLOCK you, and 5 other
people like you, so that I can finish my time in peace.  I was having a 'moderate' day today. But YOU ruined it...

It was a joke Glenn, a joke. No insult was intended.

That's what we have the smileys for, to make it clear that  it's a joke, not as random visual punctuation. Jezz, I've never, ever, encountered a Aussie who takes themself so seriously before. Given that "ripping the piss" is the Aussie national sport, how do you survive?

Oh, and given the spew of insults you've just thrown at me: Who's being anti-social here?
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Offline schmitt trigger

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Got to remember that for *many* of us in this forum, English is not our mother tongue.

Dealing with idioms or slang or playing around with the grammar......makes us scratch our head trying to determine the tone. Is the person joking, angry, or being sarcastic?
 
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Offline Cerebus

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Got to remember that for *many* of us in this forum, English is not our mother tongue.

Dealing with idioms or slang or playing around with the grammar......makes us scratch our head trying to determine the tone. Is the person joking, angry, or being sarcastic?

That's the reason we have "Is the person joking  :), angry >:(, or being sarcastic?". Note, there's no standard emoji for sarcasm, that's probably because sarcasm is pretty innately obvious (if it isn't you're doing it wrong). Text emojis developed during the days of Usenet precisely to deal with the issue of non-native English speakers in what was essentially an English only environment, and also to compensate for the typically terrible language skills of the (typically) engineering types that used Usenet. They are a hint as to how the writer intended what they have written to be interpreted. That's why sprinkling smileys around as random punctuation is a bad idea, it gives people the impression that they are meaningless when they are not.
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Offline andy3055

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South Africa has 11 but India has 22. So it must be even worse there.

But the bottom line is just that... the Bottom Line! Businesses cannot afford to cater to all the languages for a decent cost. And then someone has to ship manual in the correct language depending on where the buyer is. It will be a logistical nightmare! Having said that, I have seen small leaflets (say like 3-5 pages) accompanying simple devices printed in a few languages like English, German, French etc.

When it comes to technical stuff, it is a given that the users will need to have a working knowledge of English.
 

Offline Cerebus

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"Africa" and the huge number of African languages is why Caterpillar (of yellow earth diggers and big trucks fame) developed "Caterpillar English", a simple, restricted vocabulary version of English that could be used for documentation where the local language represented too small a chunk of the market to make it economic to make local translations. They worked on the premise that the penetration of English was sufficient that a simplified version was likely to be acceptable where a translation wasn't feasible. (Often Africans that don't share a common tongue speak a 'pigeon' variety of English to each other even though no native English speakers are involved. Substitute 'Pigeon French' for some parts of Africa.)
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Offline schmitt trigger

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Cerebus;
My post was actually directed to Glenn and his unintelligible post:

They for real does cair!!!
Just pleese puttings the happy screws in the exciting panel,
and you will be very soon jumpings to the happy tunes!!!  :phew:


What is he saying?
On the other hand, his other post was extremely insulting to you.  No doubt about it.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2020, 02:24:59 am by schmitt trigger »
 

Offline blueskull

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Cerebus;
My post was actually directed to Glenn and his unintelligible post:

I don't think Cerebus were defending Glen. He just doesn't want to be the next target of Glen.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Cerebus;
My post was actually directed to Glenn and his unintelligible post:

I don't think Cerebus were defending Glen. He just doesn't want to be the next target of Glen.

No, I got muddled and though that I was being gently chided about being careless with letting Glenn know I was joking, and thought that schmitt had mistaken Glenn for a non-native speaker. (<sarcasm on> Why that might be I have no idea. <sarcasm off>). So the mistake is all mine.

Next target? Seems I'm his current target. I've found Glenn to be wildly unpredictable. When he first showed up around here several people asked him, quite politely, to try and rein in his rather exuberant style in favour of comprehensibility. He didn't react well and went off, on several occasions at several people, on one of his nasty sociopathic little rants that we have an example of above. I had hoped that he'd calmed down and could be treated like a normal person and friendlily joshed with. Obviously not. If he's determined to be a volatile little man with a nasty little chip on his shoulder, so be it, no loss to me.
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Offline GlennSprigg

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Cerebus;
My post was actually directed to Glenn and his unintelligible post:

They for real does cair!!!
Just pleese puttings the happy screws in the exciting panel,
and you will be very soon jumpings to the happy tunes!!!  :phew:


What is he saying?
On the other hand, his other post was extremely insulting to you.  No doubt about it.

Dear schmitt trigger.  I thought I had better respond to this lack of understanding.
That 'nonsensical' block of text I first wrote, was a light-hearted tongue-in-cheek reference to the sort of printed instructions to assemble things, that we often see in 'English', when a Chinese manufacturer etc has someone attempt a translation for us!  And those instructions often end up with funny words and phrases like that.  Most English, Australian & American/Canadian people would have experienced that, and I assume would understand what I wrote.  It was not meant to confuse/upset anyone else, or simply anyone for that matter!

Regarding Cerebus, he has made (in my mind) certain derogatory remarks about me over the last couple of years, although not lately. I'm suffering from certain 'conditions' now, which leave me in not a good physical/emotional space/place. I know about, and use myself, things like 'smilies' to often indicate when/if I'm 'joking' etc., but sometimes even they can be interpreted as being smug at times, especially as such 'text' does not obviously include such 'inflection of tone'.  Because of the past, I DID find his "...your , erm, idiosyncratic approach to English..." as a personal attack. And it struck a chord/(cord?)...  So I bit back, as I'm not here to dwell on such things when I speak.  :) :)

So to Cerebus, I'm sorry for my outburst.  I just wish that some other people on this forum would stick to understanding, & replying if they wish to what ever comments people make or questions they pose, without comments that may offend or be misinterpreted.  8)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2020, 01:16:58 pm by GlennSprigg »
 

Offline Cerebus

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So to Cerebus, I'm sorry for my outburst.  I just wish that some other people on this forum would stick to understanding, & replying if they wish to what ever comments people make or questions they pose, without comments that may offend or be misinterpreted.  8)

Thank you. I try not to be gratuitously offensive but I'm also not going to walk on eggshells to satisfy people who are over-sensitive or just looking to take offence. I have never set out to attack you, you have chosen to take perfectly innocuous remarks or polite criticism as attacks (or are genuinely incapable of perceiving them properly) and have responded in a vituperative fashion out of all proportion to my and other people's remarks, even if they had been properly interpreted as a slight, unreasonable criticism, or attack. How would you feel if others laid into you like you did to me above? vis:

I'm sure you have an Orgasm at night in bed, dreaming about your self appointed 'wonderfulness'...  Too many 'callouses' on your hand mate, for me to give a fuck about!!!   :palm:

I've never used language like that against you or, for that matter, anyone else on this forum. If you think someone's having a go at you, respond politely at first, don't launch into full potty-mouth mode as your first response. Would you respond like that down the pub to a near stranger? No, because you'd have more regard for your physical safety or wouldn't want the barman to kick you out and tell you not to come back.

Just for the record, so others can judge objectively quite how mean I've been to Glenn in the past, here's the previous spat that has apparently made Glenn think I've got it in for him:

Well if you want a peaceful life, why make a post that dredges up some spat you've had elsewhere with Brumby in an unrelated topic? That does seem to be trolling for a response. 

Oh and please, less smilies, less brackets, less ... ellipses, less random punctuation in general and RANDOM changing into ALL CAPS in the middle of run on sentences. It makes it incredibly hard to read what you've written.

Dear 'Cerebus'.....  I was not aware that Mathematics was a favorite topic of 'Aardvarks', or why you read this far?
'HE' was mentioned, because he usually makes some Pious remarks when I post something, & here was no exception !
I have ZERO interest in 'your' thoughts beyond that, so please stick to 'licking ants' mate......

OH... and as for your...... "and please, less smilies, less brackets, less ... ellipses, less random punctuation " diatribe,
do you now feel like a 'bigger' 'man' in your personal attack, beyond your apparent need to lick 'someone's' butt (???).
Well, every 'punctuation' mark I use is for a reason, as raw text says/highlights/means nothing..........

Ignoring YOU (from now on), will be easy.....   Back to the REAL commenters that the rest of us love here.....

You've got troll written all over you mate, otherwise why would you turn a polite request to adopt a more readable writing style into a "personal attack" and spend so much time crafting such a personalised reply. Well, perhaps crafting is too  skilled a word for it, but it's clear the intent was to try and get some intemperate response out of me. As to ignoring me, good, but I bet you don't have the self control to let me have the last word.

And there, I hope, the matter is at a close.

Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline Macbeth

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"Africa" and the huge number of African languages is why Caterpillar (of yellow earth diggers and big trucks fame) developed "Caterpillar English", a simple, restricted vocabulary version of English that could be used for documentation where the local language represented too small a chunk of the market to make it economic to make local translations. They worked on the premise that the penetration of English was sufficient that a simplified version was likely to be acceptable where a translation wasn't feasible. (Often Africans that don't share a common tongue speak a 'pigeon' variety of English to each other even though no native English speakers are involved. Substitute 'Pigeon French' for some parts of Africa.)
Indeed. I recently stumbled on a BBC website and thought it was a joke - it's all the current BBC news in Pidgin English. It's fucking hilarious, surely some dude translating the regular BBC news into some 419 scammers lingo as a laugh.

But it's actually real and funded by BBC licence payers - check out https://www.bbc.com/pidgin  :scared:
 
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Offline andy3055

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That site is amazing!
 

Offline Cerebus

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I had a look and I found it surprisingly readable. I say that because whenever I've encountered transcribed pidgin English before (it's really just a spoken language) I've found it really difficult, at times impossible, to translate back into full blown English. As an English speaker I've found pidgin more 'foreign' than I find French and German. I had a African friend at university try and teach me the basics and it just would not stick, I got nowhere with it.
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Offline Domagoj T

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I had a look and I found it surprisingly readable.
I was just about to ask you natives if you find it readable. I can certainly understand it (I think I do), but with some difficulty and it seems easier if I vocalize it in an entirely racist accent.
What's "wey" and "na"?
"Only Lagos alone don record 19 out of di 27 confam Coronavirus cases inside Nigeria. Di Nigeria Centre for Disease Control say na just two pipo don recover, including di Italian wey first carri di disease enta Nigeria."
 

Offline Cerebus

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I had a look and I found it surprisingly readable.
I was just about to ask you natives if you find it readable. I can certainly understand it (I think I do), but with some difficulty and it seems easier if I vocalize it in an entirely racist accent.

Not racist for once, just appropriate. I can't properly read German unless I mentally hear it in a German accent, I don't see why something mostly African should be any different in principle.
Quote
What's "wey" and "na"?
"Only Lagos alone don record 19 out of di 27 confam Coronavirus cases inside Nigeria. Di Nigeria Centre for Disease Control say na just two pipo don recover, including di Italian wey first carri di disease enta Nigeria."

"na" => now.

"wey" not too sure. Having at stab at it,  I think it might be "what"/"when" - looks like a lot of the irregular what/when/where words from English get translated to "wey". There's a usage of "what" instead of "that" that gets used (strictly, used incorrectly) by native English speakers in certain places: "The car what I own" instead of "the car that I own" and this looks like that, plus use of a single pidgin word to cover several English words that do a similar job, but have complex rules as to which to use when and what to use where. <- See what I mean, easy for a native, complex for everybody else?

"including di Italian wey first carri di disease enta Nigeria" =>
"including the Italian what[that] first carri[ed] the disease into Nigeria"

And from the BBC pidgin home page at the moment:
"We share five tips to epp anybodi wey need to..." -> "We share five tips to help anybody that needs to..."
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Online chris_leyson

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I think in Nigerian pidgin wey might translate as who.
 

Offline wizard69

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It is also why the best thing we could do is to get the rest of the world to give up on their native languages and make English a universal language.   The trend of the last few decades to teach students in the USA a foreign language has been a huge mistake, a waste of money really.   Instead we should have been raising a armies of English teachers to send around the world.

My Mom used to work for a Vietnamese women here in the United States. She was raised in Vietnam, went to university in Japan (aerospace engineering), and immigrated to the USA. So she was an engineer who speaks at least three languages fluently. After working in the aerospace field for many years she was hired by Honda as a translator. They fly her around the world to serve as a translator between different engineering teams because she knows engineering terminology and can communicate that in multiple languages. This is just one example of the lengths and expense that companies go through to work/communicate effectively in just a few languages. Now multiply that by 200 or more languages and it becomes an enormous and expensive problem. When it is not done properly we wind up with things like Chinglish manuals ?
 

Offline Tepe

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It is also why the best thing we could do is to get the rest of the world to give up on their native languages and make English a universal language.   The trend of the last few decades to teach students in the USA a foreign language has been a huge mistake, a waste of money really.   Instead we should have been raising a armies of English teachers to send around the world.
Glem det, mand - det kommer aldrig til at ske  :P
ceterum censeo systemd-inem esse delendam
 

Online Gromitt

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It is also why the best thing we could do is to get the rest of the world to give up on their native languages and make English a universal language.   The trend of the last few decades to teach students in the USA a foreign language has been a huge mistake, a waste of money really.   Instead we should have been raising a armies of English teachers to send around the world.
Glem det, mand - det kommer aldrig til at ske  :P
Du har så rätt om det, kommer aldrig att hända!  :-DD
 

Offline Cerebus

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It is also why the best thing we could do is to get the rest of the world to give up on their native languages and make English a universal language.   The trend of the last few decades to teach students in the USA a foreign language has been a huge mistake, a waste of money really.   Instead we should have been raising a armies of English teachers to send around the world.

Hmm, it has its merits, but the thing is we tried this when there was a British empire that spanned the globe and still those pesky foreigners still insisted on sticking with their own languages. The French, Dutch and Germans tried it too before us and also failed. Remember too that before we could get started on the rest of the world, that we'd have the massive uphill task first of teaching you Americans to speak English too.
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Offline Cerebus

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I think in Nigerian pidgin wey might translate as who.

That as well, I suspect (from examining some examples) that it's doing a lot of work in place of a lot of words.
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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It is also why the best thing we could do is to get the rest of the world to give up on their native languages and make English a universal language.   The trend of the last few decades to teach students in the USA a foreign language has been a huge mistake, a waste of money really.   Instead we should have been raising a armies of English teachers to send around the world.

Hmm, it has its merits, but the thing is we tried this when there was a British empire that spanned the globe and still those pesky foreigners still insisted on sticking with their own languages. The French, Dutch and Germans tried it too before us and also failed. Remember too that before we could get started on the rest of the world, that we'd have the massive uphill task first of teaching you Americans to speak English too.

Having studied a couple of languages other than American I find a lot of merit in learning other languages.  It aids in understanding of how American English came into being and also provides insight into some different world views.  Those world views are only a bit different for European languages, but get much larger for others. 

But I do agree it would be useful if everyone spoke a common language.  And for all of Cerebus comment (which I am sure is somewhat tongue in cheek) if all spoke as close to a common language as Americans and British do it would serve the usefulness criteria.  Even if a speaker of one of the extreme American dialects and one of the extreme British dialects found it totally impossible to communicate.  People on this forum do pretty well and come from all parts of the former British empire.
 

Offline Cerebus

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If we're seriously aiming for a new  lingua Franca (literally latin for the French language, but intended to mean a common world language) then it ought to be Spanish. Of all the European languages that have taken hold in the rest of the world it is the most regular and the easiest to learn.

English is the current defacto lingua Franca and is horrible from a language student's point of view, too irregular, weird spelling and pronunciation (even in Noah Webster's bastardized form). French is little better in regard to the same things. German's too much of a minority language to get out of the starting blocks (and putting the verbs at the end of sentences is just evil). Italian would be a good alternative to Spanish (simple spelling, reasonably regular grammar), but Spanish has got a huge head start on it. On headcount alone there's an argument for Chinese, but it's so different from most other languages (tonal pronunciation, ideograms) that it doesn't get out of the starting gate.
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Offline coppice

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English is the current defacto lingua Franca and is horrible from a language student's point of view, too irregular, weird spelling and pronunciation (even in Noah Webster's bastardized form).
There are 3 reasons why English is so widespread today. 1) The British Empire spread it around the world. 2) The dominance of the USA drives it forward.  3) Its a flexible language that is happy to absorb from others. Point 3 makes it messy, but it also means it avoids being exclusionary. Some European languages have tried to exclude pollution by foreign languages, and its making them fossilize and lose relevance. People are generally accepting of English.
 

Offline Cerebus

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English is the current defacto lingua Franca and is horrible from a language student's point of view, too irregular, weird spelling and pronunciation (even in Noah Webster's bastardized form).
There are 3 reasons why English is so widespread today. 1) The British Empire spread it around the world. 2) The dominance of the USA drives it forward.  3) Its a flexible language that is happy to absorb from others. Point 3 makes it messy, but it also means it avoids being exclusionary. Some European languages have tried to exclude pollution by foreign languages, and its making them fossilize and lose relevance. People are generally accepting of English.

All true - almost, I'll come to that in a moment - but if you were making a logical choice for a new lingua Franca it wouldn't be English. As to the point about English "absorbing" from other languages, I can tell you (sitting here in pyjamas on the veranda of a bungalow*) that we don't "absorb", we don't even borrow, we wholesale steal.

*I'm not really doing that, in March, amid a public lockdown, and it is obviously an illustrative literary device to introduce some English words that were stolen from the Indian subcontinent (Urdu, Hindi (borrowed from Portuguese) and Hindi respectively).
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Offline CatalinaWOW

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If we're seriously aiming for a new  lingua Franca (literally latin for the French language, but intended to mean a common world language) then it ought to be Spanish. Of all the European languages that have taken hold in the rest of the world it is the most regular and the easiest to learn.

English is the current defacto lingua Franca and is horrible from a language student's point of view, too irregular, weird spelling and pronunciation (even in Noah Webster's bastardized form). French is little better in regard to the same things. German's too much of a minority language to get out of the starting blocks (and putting the verbs at the end of sentences is just evil). Italian would be a good alternative to Spanish (simple spelling, reasonably regular grammar), but Spanish has got a huge head start on it. On headcount alone there's an argument for Chinese, but it's so different from most other languages (tonal pronunciation, ideograms) that it doesn't get out of the starting gate.

Have to agree for the most part, although Spanish is in many ways as bad as English in terms of local variations. 

It would be interesting to see how things develop over the next couple of hundred years.  Will telecommunications and video slow or stop the pronunciation drifts that split Latin into the various Romance languages?  Which languages will grow and which will shrink.  Chinese, English, French and Spanish all seem to be in the running as major tongues, with Arabic a dark horse contender.
 

Online vk6zgo

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It is also why the best thing we could do is to get the rest of the world to give up on their native languages and make English a universal language.   The trend of the last few decades to teach students in the USA a foreign language has been a huge mistake, a waste of money really.   Instead we should have been raising a armies of English teachers to send around the world.

Hmm, it has its merits, but the thing is we tried this when there was a British empire that spanned the globe and still those pesky foreigners still insisted on sticking with their own languages. The French, Dutch and Germans tried it too before us and also failed. Remember too that before we could get started on the rest of the world, that we'd have the massive uphill task first of teaching you Americans to speak English too.

Having studied a couple of languages other than American I find a lot of merit in learning other languages.  It aids in understanding of how American English came into being and also provides insight into some different world views.  Those world views are only a bit different for European languages, but get much larger for others. 

But I do agree it would be useful if everyone spoke a common language.  And for all of Cerebus comment (which I am sure is somewhat tongue in cheek) if all spoke as close to a common language as Americans and British do it would serve the usefulness criteria.  Even if a speaker of one of the extreme American dialects and one of the extreme British dialects found it totally impossible to communicate.  People on this forum do pretty well and come from all parts of the former British empire.

They would probably get an Australian to translate!

My brother used to relate incidents from when he was in the Occupation Forces in Japan in the late 1940s, where some Brits & Americans couldn't understand each other & called upon him to translate.
Even funnier, some Americans couldn't understand each other, & he needed to do the same thing for them.

Of course, that was many years ago, & differences in dialects have been very much reduced since then.

My Bro had a gift for languages, & taught himself Spanish, initially so he could understand Spanish speakers on Shortwave radio.

It came in handy when he worked at ATN7 in the early days.
The German makers of some important equipment reshuffled their stock to deliver on time, so the gear turned up with Spanish labelling & manuals!
 

Online vk6zgo

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English is the current defacto lingua Franca and is horrible from a language student's point of view, too irregular, weird spelling and pronunciation (even in Noah Webster's bastardized form).
There are 3 reasons why English is so widespread today. 1) The British Empire spread it around the world. 2) The dominance of the USA drives it forward.  3) Its a flexible language that is happy to absorb from others. Point 3 makes it messy, but it also means it avoids being exclusionary. Some European languages have tried to exclude pollution by foreign languages, and its making them fossilize and lose relevance. People are generally accepting of English.

All true - almost, I'll come to that in a moment - but if you were making a logical choice for a new lingua Franca it wouldn't be English. As to the point about English "absorbing" from other languages, I can tell you (sitting here in pyjamas on the veranda of a bungalow*) that we don't "absorb", we don't even borrow, we wholesale steal.

*I'm not really doing that, in March, amid a public lockdown, and it is obviously an illustrative literary device to introduce some English words that were stolen from the Indian subcontinent (Urdu, Hindi (borrowed from Portuguese) and Hindi respectively).

Interestingly, in Oz, where the default house is a single storey one, the word "bungalow" doesn't normally immediately bring such dwellings to mind.
It suggests, instead, a somewhat tumble-down place, along the lines of a "beach shack!
 

Offline Cerebus

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Interestingly, in Oz, where the default house is a single storey one, the word "bungalow" doesn't normally immediately bring such dwellings to mind.
It suggests, instead, a somewhat tumble-down place, along the lines of a "beach shack!

Truth be told, I think British ones tend towards that nature from the examples that I've seen. A lot were thrown up comparatively quickly as desperately needed post-WWII housing and time has not been kind to them. Not all of them, I have seen some respectable examples.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Online vk6zgo

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Interestingly, in Oz, where the default house is a single storey one, the word "bungalow" doesn't normally immediately bring such dwellings to mind.
It suggests, instead, a somewhat tumble-down place, along the lines of a "beach shack!

Truth be told, I think British ones tend towards that nature from the examples that I've seen. A lot were thrown up comparatively quickly as desperately needed post-WWII housing and time has not been kind to them. Not all of them, I have seen some respectable examples.

Some of the multi-storey houses, & blocks of flats in your country were also already looking pretty dire, back in the 1970s---for the latter, even 1960s builds.
I hate to think what 50 years has done to them!
 

Offline GlennSprigg

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Offline TheHolyHorse

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Uh. Do you find any other language disgusting (  :-// ), or do you just find the translations themselves usually so poor that they are disgusting?
 

Online Gromitt

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Yes you are. Websites should be on the local language. It would be VERY boring if everything was in english.
 

Offline tooki

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"Africa" and the huge number of African languages is why Caterpillar (of yellow earth diggers and big trucks fame) developed "Caterpillar English", a simple, restricted vocabulary version of English that could be used for documentation where the local language represented too small a chunk of the market to make it economic to make local translations. They worked on the premise that the penetration of English was sufficient that a simplified version was likely to be acceptable where a translation wasn't feasible. (Often Africans that don't share a common tongue speak a 'pigeon' variety of English to each other even though no native English speakers are involved. Substitute 'Pigeon French' for some parts of Africa.)
Safety-critical industries like aviation have long had special simplified language requirements, using restricted (and curated) vocabularies, simplified grammar, etc.

Is Caterpillar’s simplified standard English, or is it actually a pidgin?


"Africa" and the huge number of African languages is why Caterpillar (of yellow earth diggers and big trucks fame) developed "Caterpillar English", a simple, restricted vocabulary version of English that could be used for documentation where the local language represented too small a chunk of the market to make it economic to make local translations. They worked on the premise that the penetration of English was sufficient that a simplified version was likely to be acceptable where a translation wasn't feasible. (Often Africans that don't share a common tongue speak a 'pigeon' variety of English to each other even though no native English speakers are involved. Substitute 'Pigeon French' for some parts of Africa.)
Indeed. I recently stumbled on a BBC website and thought it was a joke - it's all the current BBC news in Pidgin English. It's fucking hilarious, surely some dude translating the regular BBC news into some 419 scammers lingo as a laugh.

But it's actually real and funded by BBC licence payers - check out https://www.bbc.com/pidgin  :scared:
That’s amazing.


I had a look and I found it surprisingly readable. I say that because whenever I've encountered transcribed pidgin English before (it's really just a spoken language) I've found it really difficult, at times impossible, to translate back into full blown English. As an English speaker I've found pidgin more 'foreign' than I find French and German. I had a African friend at university try and teach me the basics and it just would not stick, I got nowhere with it.
It’s the linguistic “uncanny valley”: it’s too close to your native language for it to “register” as separate, so it keeps trying to get parsed as standard English even though it’s not.



Disclaimer for the following comments: I’m not Swiss, but an American living in Switzerland, who studied linguistics, native English speaker who grew up trilingual ultimately, whose mother is a language teacher, and who worked for years as a technical writer and translator. So please no dismissive comments about how I have no right to an opinion as a non-native speaker.

It is also why the best thing we could do is to get the rest of the world to give up on their native languages and make English a universal language.   The trend of the last few decades to teach students in the USA a foreign language has been a huge mistake, a waste of money really.   Instead we should have been raising a armies of English teachers to send around the world.

Hmm, it has its merits, but the thing is we tried this when there was a British empire that spanned the globe and still those pesky foreigners still insisted on sticking with their own languages. The French, Dutch and Germans tried it too before us and also failed. Remember too that before we could get started on the rest of the world, that we'd have the massive uphill task first of teaching you Americans to speak English too.
I reeeeeaaaallllllly hope you’re being sarcastic there, because linguistically speaking, British claims of Americans not speaking English are complete and utter nonsense, both from a modern linguistic perspective and a historical perspective. (British English diverged from our common ancestral English more than American English has. And nearly every characteristic of American English that the British love to criticize is, in fact, found in various dialects of British, Scottish, and Irish English.)


Having studied a couple of languages other than American I find a lot of merit in learning other languages.  It aids in understanding of how American English came into being and also provides insight into some different world views.  Those world views are only a bit different for European languages, but get much larger for others. 
”American” isn’t a language. I think you’re thinking of “English”, particularly, the dialect known as “American English”. ;)

But I do agree it would be useful if everyone spoke a common language.  And for all of Cerebus comment (which I am sure is somewhat tongue in cheek) if all spoke as close to a common language as Americans and British do it would serve the usefulness criteria.  Even if a speaker of one of the extreme American dialects and one of the extreme British dialects found it totally impossible to communicate.  People on this forum do pretty well and come from all parts of the former British empire.
Indeed, the high degree of mutual intelligibility is what proves that American English and British English (as well as Australian, Canadian, etc.) are indeed dialects of the same language, and not distinct languages.


There are 3 reasons why English is so widespread today. 1) The British Empire spread it around the world. 2) The dominance of the USA drives it forward.  3) Its a flexible language that is happy to absorb from others. Point 3 makes it messy, but it also means it avoids being exclusionary. Some European languages have tried to exclude pollution by foreign languages, and its making them fossilize and lose relevance. People are generally accepting of English.
Point three is actually nothing but urban legend. English is perfectly happy to borrow from other languages, but so is every other language. The fact that some countries have felt the need to enact laws to stop linguistic borrowing is proof that the languages themselves (and their speakers) are just as happy to borrow. (Such laws are political and cultural instruments, not linguistic ones as such.) Throughout history, whatever language happens to be dominant in a given domain tends to become a donor to other languages. So when Ancient Greece was the powerhouse, Greek words spread. When French was the world language, French words got borrowed a lot (especially in international politics and law). When Germany was the epicenter of development in psychology and mathematics, languages around the world borrowed German words in those fields. Right now, especially in computing and tech, the US was the leader in those fields, and coined the terms, so they’ve spread into other languages.

And in the future, when some seminal development happens somewhere else, that place’s language will mint the world’s language of that field. 

What’s made English spelling messy is that a) unlike most major world languages, English has both its “native” Germanic vocabulary and its Norman French vocabulary, which came with their own spelling traditions, and more importantly b) like many languages, English has had numerous pronunciation shifts, but due to the lack of a centralized language authority, has never gone and updated the spelling of a word. So in English, the spelling of a given word reflects how the word would have been spoken at the time when it was first written down. And then depending on how long ago a word was coined, it has gone through more or fewer pronunciation shifts. (Ultimately, this means English has something like 7 or 8 major “sets” of spelling systems. It’s not random, as people often claim.)

Many other languages have an official language authority that decides and then makes official, binding decrees about how the language shall be used. (It gets extra fun when multiple countries use the same language and then fight over authority, like Portuguese, whose last major language reform adopted tons of Brazilian spellings, much to the consternation of speakers of European Portuguese!) English, in contrast, has two major, but completely unofficial, arbiters: Oxford and Webster’s. (Of those, Oxford is, by far, the more important of the two, and to the likely surprise of many a Brit, it does not take a strong dislike to American English. IMHO, Oxford’s linguists of English are actually very, very fair and take a nuanced, objective approach to English, not the nationalistic, hysterical positions taken by laymen.)


They would probably get an Australian to translate!

My brother used to relate incidents from when he was in the Occupation Forces in Japan in the late 1940s, where some Brits & Americans couldn't understand each other & called upon him to translate.
Even funnier, some Americans couldn't understand each other, & he needed to do the same thing for them.
Cute story, but almost certainly untrue. What’s much more likely is that they didn’t understand each other in terms of the content, not the language, and just needed someone to explain something a different way.


Of course, that was many years ago, & differences in dialects have been very much reduced since then.
Interestingly, this belief is very widespread, but actually completely untrue. It is often claimed that mass media (whose production has been focused in a few places, historically) and travel would lead to a leveling of English dialects, but linguists who have studied this have found that in fact, the polar opposite is happening: the dialects are getting stronger.

It’s long been known in linguistics that socioeconomic identity plays a part in the expression of dialect usage, and so the working theory is that the frequent exposure to the prominent dialects in the media (e.g. New York and Los Angeles dialects) actually causes people who don’t identify with the “prestige” culture to use their regionalisms more. There was a famous (well, in linguistics) study about the local dialect on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Researchers looked at what percentage of residents used the island dialect vs the mainstream (mainland) dialect. When plotted by age, at age 18 there’s a big jump in island dialect. Why? Because the kids who didn’t identify with the island culturally left the island as soon as they could, when they turned 18! So the people who remained on the island were those who have a stronger island identity, and thus use the dialect.


What I feel (but haven’t looked into in any way) is that the Internet has led to a bit more exchange of vocabulary in English. But only choice of words, not pronunciation or grammar.
 

Offline Cerebus

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Well you took your time to turn up, I was expecting you days, perhaps weeks ago.

Is Caterpillar’s simplified standard English, or is it actually a pidgin?

Simplified English.



It is also why the best thing we could do is to get the rest of the world to give up on their native languages and make English a universal language.   The trend of the last few decades to teach students in the USA a foreign language has been a huge mistake, a waste of money really.   Instead we should have been raising a armies of English teachers to send around the world.

Hmm, it has its merits, but the thing is we tried this when there was a British empire that spanned the globe and still those pesky foreigners still insisted on sticking with their own languages. The French, Dutch and Germans tried it too before us and also failed. Remember too that before we could get started on the rest of the world, that we'd have the massive uphill task first of teaching you Americans to speak English too.
I reeeeeaaaallllllly hope you’re being sarcastic there, because linguistically speaking, British claims of Americans not speaking English are complete and utter nonsense, both from a modern linguistic perspective and a historical perspective. (British English diverged from our common ancestral English more than American English has. And nearly every characteristic of American English that the British love to criticize is, in fact, found in various dialects of British, Scottish, and Irish English.)

Well, what do you think? Look at what I'm commenting on.


As to the rest, well. Poor old Tooki gets his knickers in a twist every time this comes up. But he is a linguist, well that's what he calls it. Of course most of us when we hear 'linguist'  think "somebody who studies languages" which seems reasonable. Until you get into things like this whole pronunciation shifts and so on. Then you realise that what's meant is theoretical linguist because that's all they have, a theory. Play me a sound recording of someone speaking Chaucerian English or Elizabethan English and you might have some actual evidence. But it's all based on written works from a time where two equally well educated men couldn't agree on the same spelling of the same word.

Oh look, I can see steam coming out of his ears! I am, of course, ragging you, but there is some merit in pointing out that this is not hard, objective, science but very much a 'soft science' (or 'zaft science' and they would say in the Black Country dialect) and the evidential basis is not one that would make the average empirical scientist particularly happy - I think a hard scientist would be talking "hypothesis" not "fact". Just to take a single instance, where is the cut-off between a dialect and a different language? Is this well defined, or is it a matter of opinion? If the former it's a science, if the latter then best probably move the linguistics school offices over to the faculty of social science. (I'm ragging him again aren't I? Sorry, it's the absence of sociologists to bait - there are some things I really miss about being at university.)

My only genuine grievance in all this is exemplified by the following:

(British English diverged from our common ancestral English more than American English has. And nearly every characteristic of American English that the British love to criticize is, in fact, found in various dialects of British, Scottish, and Irish English.)

Only an American would qualify British English to describe the English spoken in modern Britain. (Yes, I realise that I've picked on the one place where the qualification is justified for clarity, but it's a convenient place to hang my argument.) He wouldn't qualify any language other than English in that way but leave the variant unqualified (e.g. Use "French" for the variant spoken in Algeria and "Frankish French" for the version spoken in France). Even though they hate to admit it, most Americans take a proprietorial attitude to the English language that, if any one has the right to take, it is the English themselves. This is exemplified by language choices in American written software where "English" (meaning the North American version) and "British English" are offered as choices. That is what gets us British riled and thus deriding 'merkin English in retaliation. I am English, and as such claim the same right as the Irish and Welsh are granted, to call my own language after the name of my people.

To bring this full circle, the only thing that really genuinely annoys me, as opposed to merely irking me, is the sheer arrogance of a certain type of Norteamericano towards languages other than their own Inglés norteamericano exemplified by the original message that sparked the whole sub-thread off.

Oh, and for the record, no normal person in England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales calls a kitchen tap a "faucet", curtains "drapes", the boot of a car "the trunk", nor says "gotten". Yes, much of American English does seem to be much closer to Elizabethan era English than modern English. That doesn't lend it any more or less authenticity.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline HobGoblyn

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I made the effort to learn a bit of Danish before I went for a 5 day holiday to Copenhagen a few years ago.

Was a complete waste of time, even if I tried to speak to people in Danish, they replied in English  (must have looked like a tourist)

I sympathise with the OP, but a good proportion of things I buy, don't seem to translate into English properly either.
 

Offline Cerebus

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I made the effort to learn a bit of Danish before I went for a 5 day holiday to Copenhagen a few years ago.

Was a complete waste of time, even if I tried to speak to people in Danish, they replied in English  (must have looked like a tourist)

I can sympathise with that. Did the same thing for my first ever (business) trip to the Netherlands, had the same response. To be fair to the Dutch a non-native speaker is obvious from a 100 miles off and I have literally never met a native Dutch speaker who didn't also speak good English.

Had, and still have, the opposite experience in Germany, there folks are quite happy to let you have a go and will put up with your terrible German even though many people could switch to English from the get-go. I get into trouble there as I learned what little German I do know in Germany from native German speakers so my accent is 100 times better than my comprehension, vocabulary or ability to string together much more than stock phrases. People hear me and think I can actually speak German properly, launch into a "mile a minute" explanation of, say, directions and get an "Entschuldigung! Ich bin ein Ausländer. Noch einmal, bitte langsam." (Sorry! I'm a foreigner. Once again please, slowly) in response - at least I sound properly polite and that seems to go a long way in Germany.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline blueskull

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I can sympathise with that. Did the same thing for my first ever (business) trip to the Netherlands, had the same response. To be fair to the Dutch a non-native speaker is obvious from a 100 miles off and I have literally never met a native Dutch speaker who didn't also speak good English.

Had, and still have, the opposite experience in Germany, there folks are quite happy to let you have a go and will put up with your terrible German even though many people could switch to English from the get-go. I get into trouble there as I learned what little German I do know in Germany from native German speakers so my accent is 100 times better than my comprehension, vocabulary or ability to string together much more than stock phrases. People hear me and think I can actually speak German properly, launch into a "mile a minute" explanation of, say, directions and get an "Entschuldigung! Ich bin ein Ausländer. Noch einmal, bitte langsam." (Sorry! I'm a foreigner. Once again please, slowly) in response - at least I sound properly polite and that seems to go a long way in Germany.

Same story for me. When I visited Japan numerous times before, I always start with talking to people in Japanese, gave up, and resort to English. I can comprehend what they said, but I can't organize my words as fast.

And no, contrary to popular belief, English skill of Japanese is not all that bad. They have bad accent, they may have problems speaking English, but most of the young ones understand English perfectly fine.

Can't say the same for the Koreans. When I visited Seoul, I found most people couldn't understand my English. Some of them include white collar office workers, school kids (middle to high school), and partying college students. I found more people understanding Chinese and Japanese there than English, especially on business streets and in shopping malls where you'd expect tourists.
 

Offline coppice

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I can sympathise with that. Did the same thing for my first ever (business) trip to the Netherlands, had the same response. To be fair to the Dutch a non-native speaker is obvious from a 100 miles off and I have literally never met a native Dutch speaker who didn't also speak good English.

Had, and still have, the opposite experience in Germany, there folks are quite happy to let you have a go and will put up with your terrible German even though many people could switch to English from the get-go. I get into trouble there as I learned what little German I do know in Germany from native German speakers so my accent is 100 times better than my comprehension, vocabulary or ability to string together much more than stock phrases. People hear me and think I can actually speak German properly, launch into a "mile a minute" explanation of, say, directions and get an "Entschuldigung! Ich bin ein Ausländer. Noch einmal, bitte langsam." (Sorry! I'm a foreigner. Once again please, slowly) in response - at least I sound properly polite and that seems to go a long way in Germany.

Same story for me. When I visited Japan numerous times before, I always start with talking to people in Japanese, gave up, and resort to English. I can comprehend what they said, but I can't organize my words as fast.

And no, contrary to popular belief, English skill of Japanese is not all that bad. They have bad accent, they may have problems speaking English, but most of the young ones understand English perfectly fine.

Can't say the same for the Koreans. When I visited Seoul, I found most people couldn't understand my English. Some of them include white collar office workers, school kids (middle to high school), and partying college students. I found more people understanding Chinese and Japanese there than English, especially on business streets and in shopping malls where you'd expect tourists.
These days you can get by fairly well in Japan using Mandarin. The last time I went to Japan my family used Mandarin in a few places, and English in others.
 

Offline GlennSprigg

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I made the effort to learn a bit of Danish before I went for a 5 day holiday to Copenhagen a few years ago.

Was a complete waste of time, even if I tried to speak to people in Danish, they replied in English  (must have looked like a tourist)

I sympathise with the OP, but a good proportion of things I buy, don't seem to translate into English properly either.

I too have always tried to at least learn the 'basics' of other languages when speaking to 'foreigners'. However, as you indicate, due to inflection, pronunciation and localized idiosyncrasies, it generally comes off poorly! and one stands out as an outsider!  Then again, I've generally found that a LOT of them actually appreciate you TRYING!, even if stirring you in a totally friendly way.

I had quite a few 'interesting' debates with 'tooki' in the past too, as per others observations about his 'correctness'  (In fun!  :D)
To me, the biggest problem in hearing/speaking in other languages, including others speaking 'English', is the EMPHASIS on Syllables!!  Some don't really matter... like  'ALtimeter' or 'alTIMeter, but others do!  If someone speaking English said... 'capaCITor' instead of 'capACItor' it would not make sense to us.

Talking SPEED is also an obvious problem. (Of course you get more used to it!). If an Aussie quickly said to you, (phonetically)... "whatchadointomora", it is not obvious to a foreigner as slowly meaning... "what-are-you-doing-tomorrow"   8)

All that aside though, that doesn't explain how a lot of Americans pronounce/use many words! The worst being, in the elect field, being 'SODDer' as opposed to 'SOLder'?  (Holder, colder, folder, bolder etc etc).  Who in their past decided that there is a silent 'L' there???? This is an English word. Not their own!  ;D   'Hood'/'Trunk' instead of 'Bonnet/Boot' is ok, but not many others.  Someone there also decided once that the car is called a 'NEEsaan', instead of a 'NISSan', even when the Japanese inventors call it by the correct name.  ::)
I always JOKE! about the first hillbilly seeing the sign... "Yosemite", who tried to pronounce it as 'Yo-SEM-i-tee' instead of 'YOsemite' like 'VEGemite' or 'DYNamite' (Only stirring there.... that's YOUR word!  :-+)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 02:22:46 pm by GlennSprigg »
 

Offline Cerebus

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If someone speaking English said... 'capaCITor' instead of 'capACItor' it would not make sense to us.

The problem can often be that people are working from written English and, just looking at the word, can't see the syllable boundaries, just as in your example. I was trying to read and decipher one of those giant German compound words recently. I just couldn't get it because my (English) eye was trying to put the word boundaries in the wrong places and coming up with a different string of actual German words - had to find a real German to get to the bottom of it.

I always JOKE! about the first hillbilly seeing the sign... "Yosemite", who tried to pronounce it as 'Yo-SEM-i-tee' instead of 'YOsemite' like 'VEGemite' or 'DYNamite' (Only stirring there.... that's YOUR word!  :-+)

Except it isn't. Yosemite is the Miwok people's word for "killer", the name of the tribe who lived there before the colonists kicked them out. What's the betting that we're still actually pronouncing is it wrong? (General rule for US place names: if it isn't the name of a town in the colonist's home country (London, Birmingham, Amsterdam), or a simple description in the colonist's language (Baton Rouge, Springfield) then it's probably from an indigenous language.)
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Offline GlennSprigg

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If someone speaking English said... 'capaCITor' instead of 'capACItor' it would not make sense to us.

The problem can often be that people are working from written English and, just looking at the word, can't see the syllable boundaries, just as in your example. I was trying to read and decipher one of those giant German compound words recently. I just couldn't get it because my (English) eye was trying to put the word boundaries in the wrong places and coming up with a different string of actual German words - had to find a real German to get to the bottom of it.

I always JOKE! about the first hillbilly seeing the sign... "Yosemite", who tried to pronounce it as 'Yo-SEM-i-tee' instead of 'YOsemite' like 'VEGemite' or 'DYNamite' (Only stirring there.... that's YOUR word!  :-+)

Except it isn't. Yosemite is the Miwok people's word for "killer", the name of the tribe who lived there before the colonists kicked them out. What's the betting that we're still actually pronouncing is it wrong? (General rule for US place names: if it isn't the name of a town in the colonist's home country (London, Birmingham, Amsterdam), or a simple description in the colonist's language (Baton Rouge, Springfield) then it's probably from an indigenous language.)

Thank you for your reply 'Cerebus'. Yes you are right!  German is my '2nd' language, and I still struggle with it!  As you said, they have 'words/phrases' that are joined together, and is often hard to find the 'boundaries' within. This seems to happen as their 'old' German is very 'descriptive', in place of a specialized 'word.  For example... a "quecksilberschalter" is put together from 'quecksilber' translated from "Quick Silver", (rapid movement on a table top!!), and 'shalter' meaning switch. In other words, a Mercury Tilt Switch!. Or 'Überstromrelais' meaning "Over Current Relay". Their descriptive terms get joined together to make a 'single' word.

And yes, (I was joking about the 'yosemite' thing). Here in Australia, a hell of a lot of our 'words' have indigenous origins too!!
 

Offline GlennSprigg

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Just for fun, Cerebus, the longest current 'word' in German is...
"Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft", meaning...
"Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services"
Clear as mud!!   :-+
 

Offline Tepe

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Just for fun, Cerebus, the longest current 'word' in German is...
"Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft", meaning...
"Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services"
Clear as mud!!   :-+

German does not stand alone:

"speciallægepraksisplanlægningsstabiliseringsperiode"


Og Skorsteensfeiren talte fornuftig for hende, talte om gamle Chineser og om Gjedebukkebeens-Overogundergeneralkrigscommandeersergeanten, men hun hulkede saa gruelig, og kyssede sin lille Skorsteensfeier, saa han kunde ikke andet end føie hende, skjøndt det var galt.
    -- Hans Christian Andersen, 1845
« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 09:20:14 pm by Tepe »
ceterum censeo systemd-inem esse delendam
 

Offline tooki

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Well you took your time to turn up, I was expecting you days, perhaps weeks ago.
But honey child, I did show up long ago! My first reply in this thread was from 2016!  ;D

I reeeeeaaaallllllly hope you’re being sarcastic there, because linguistically speaking, British claims of Americans not speaking English are complete and utter nonsense, both from a modern linguistic perspective and a historical perspective. (British English diverged from our common ancestral English more than American English has. And nearly every characteristic of American English that the British love to criticize is, in fact, found in various dialects of British, Scottish, and Irish English.)

Well, what do you think? Look at what I'm commenting on.
But I have an only minimally functional sarcasm detector. Hence the disclaimer!

As to the rest, well. Poor old Tooki gets his knickers in a twist every time this comes up.
And with good reason, since some snooty Brits just can't let it go.


But he is a linguist, well that's what he calls it.
Of course that's what I call it, because that's what it's called!


Of course most of us when we hear 'linguist'  think "somebody who studies languages" which seems reasonable.
Most people, frankly, have ZERO clue what linguists do. They mostly think it means "learning a language", which is absolutely incorrect.


Until you get into things like this whole pronunciation shifts and so on. Then you realise that what's meant is theoretical linguist because that's all they have, a theory.
Theoretical linguistics is actually a distinct subfield having nothing to do with what you are talking about.

Like any reconstructive science, historical linguistics has to propose hypotheses and theories.(Remember, in the sciences, a "theory" does NOT mean what "theory" means in everyday usage.) But like any real science, it's not pulled out of thin air. There are rigorous methods used to attempt to reverse-engineer older versions of a language. And of course, the farther back you go, the larger the margin of error becomes. No controversy there.

Play me a sound recording of someone speaking Chaucerian English or Elizabethan English and you might have some actual evidence.

But it's all based on written works from a time where two equally well educated men couldn't agree on the same spelling of the same word.
Yep, which is why it's no easy task.

I didn't get a chance to delve into historical linguistics as much as I'd have liked, so to be honest, I don't actually know how they do it exactly.


Oh look, I can see steam coming out of his ears!
It's not steam, and those aren't my ears! :P


I am, of course, ragging you, but there is some merit in pointing out that this is not hard, objective, science
Nobody ever said it was. My point wasn't a claim of absolutism in linguistics, but rather that the common British arrogance about English, is absolutist, while being based on nothing but national pride and disdain for the US, not evidence.


but very much a 'soft science' (or 'zaft science' and they would say in the Black Country dialect) and the evidential basis is not one that would make the average empirical scientist particularly happy - I think a hard scientist would be talking "hypothesis" not "fact". Just to take a single instance, where is the cut-off between a dialect and a different language?
"A language is a dialect with an army and navy.;D

Is this well defined, or is it a matter of opinion?
Yes. ;)

Actually, it's a matter up to significant debate, because it's so sociopolitical, too. (For example, how Serbo-Croatian was split into Serbian and Croatian following the Balkan conflict.)

But it's also something where it's categorically impossible to create a single definition. One of the most common criteria is mutual intelligibility: if fluent speakers of one dialect are able to readily communicate with fluent speakers of another, then they're likely just dialects of the same language. If they can't (even just being able to communicate, but with difficulty), then they're likely to be considered distinct languages. But it gets muddied by dialects of different languages which, in turn, are similar to each other. (For example, while standard German and Swiss German are only mutually intelligible with difficulty if one has no exposure to the other — it typically takes a German immigrant about 3 months to become proficient at just understanding Swiss German — the dialect of (standard) German spoken in Baden-Württemberg is much, much closer to Swiss German, such that they have a much higher degree of intelligibility.) This is why linguists also group languages and dialects into families.

Nonetheless, there are various criteria used in linguistics to try and answer this question. The aforementioned mutual intelligibility is probably the biggest one. But this is something where the line is broad and very blurry.

(As an interesting side note, referring back to a very old reply of yours in this thread where you mention Indian English, IMHO, Indian English is almost straddling the line at times, insofar as it is sometimes no longer readily mutually intelligible by native speakers of other dialects of English, especially when spoken. Then again, I suppose one could make the same argument about the most extreme dialects in the UK and US!!!)


If the former it's a science, if the latter then best probably move the linguistics school offices over to the faculty of social science.
Hah, linguistics is usually such an underfunded, misunderstood discipline that it's often a miracle they have offices at all! Usually they're housed within the language department (as in, lumped together with language instruction). At my university, I think there were a grand total of a dozen linguistics majors, versus several dozen students per language of numerous languages.

(I actually only minored in linguistics, because though I had about 90% of the classes needed for the linguistics major, the remaining classes were offered so infrequently that taking them would have delayed my graduation by 1 year at minimum, possibly longer. So I settled for having it as a minor alongside my IT major.)


(I'm ragging him again aren't I? Sorry, it's the absence of sociologists to bait - there are some things I really miss about being at university.)
It's sorta somewhere in between. There are areas of linguistics that are much "softer" than others. Ultimately, since language intersects with all areas of the human experience, including the hardest of hard sciences and the softest of phoney-baloney soft "sciences", linguistics has areas covering everything.

I'll admit to the guilty pleasure of hating on social sciences. Like… I'm gay, but holy baloney, don't get me started on "queer studies" and its ilk. Those departments should just be honest and rename themselves "colleges of professional victimhood". :::ducks:::


My only genuine grievance in all this is exemplified by the following:

(British English diverged from our common ancestral English more than American English has. And nearly every characteristic of American English that the British love to criticize is, in fact, found in various dialects of British, Scottish, and Irish English.)

Only an American would qualify British English to describe the English spoken in modern Britain. (Yes, I realise that I've picked on the one place where the qualification is justified for clarity, but it's a convenient place to hang my argument.)
Well, it really is in no way arrogant or uniquely American to refer to British English as British English when referring to a specific dialect to the exclusion of the others. That is how language teachers, scholars, etc. refer to the dialect of English spoken in Britain. (This is not controversial.) "English" refers to all dialects, and a demonym prefix specifies a specific dialect. So if you ask me "what language is spoken in England", the answer is simply "English". But if we need to distinguish it from, say, American English or Australian English, then we add the specifier.

What is arrogant is for Brits to insist that only their dialect may be called "English", and that all the others must be prefixed. The fact that we can understand each other with perfect clarity is proof that we speak (well, in this case, write) the same exact language.


(Food for thought: some people, both American and British, refer to American English as simply "American" (without the "English"). Now, factually this is wrong, since clearly it is a dialect of English, but whatever. The puzzle is this: some think it's arrogant for Americans to call their language "English". But at the same time, Americans also get ragged on — almost exclusively by people who are not from the Americas, both North and South (and Central) — for having the demonym "American", since Canadians, Mexicans, and South Americans are also from the Americas. So it's arrogant for Americans to not call their language "American", but also arrogant for them to call themselves "American". :P (Some languages refer to Americans by names that translate to "United Statesian", but this also collides with Mexico, which is officially the United Mexican States!) )


He wouldn't qualify any language other than English in that way but leave the variant unqualified (e.g. Use "French" for the variant spoken in Algeria and "Frankish French" for the version spoken in France).
Balderdash!

"French" is the name of the language spoken in all French-speaking countries. If I need to refer to one specifically, then I prefix it.

I speak Spanish, too. Specifically, I speak Latin American Spanish (Guatemalan, specifically). Linguists routinely refer to the kind spoken in Spain as Iberian Spanish or European Spanish, and "Spanish" unqualified to mean all dialects of it.


Even though they hate to admit it, most Americans take a proprietorial attitude to the English language that, if any one has the right to take, it is the English themselves.
Except you don't actually have the right to "take" it. English is the native language of hundreds of millions of people outside of England, far outnumbering you. There is absolutely no question that English originated in England, but since it is the native language of people outside, you can no longer claim it as exclusively yours, not even just the name — but nor does any other country!


This is exemplified by language choices in American written software where "English" (meaning the North American version) and "British English" are offered as choices. That is what gets us British riled and thus deriding 'merkin English in retaliation. I am English, and as such claim the same right as the Irish and Welsh are granted, to call my own language after the name of my people.
The prior reply notwithstanding, I agree with you for the most part. If a program's user interface offers both British and American dialects, then the American one should be "American English" and the British one "British English". (Or, as is most common these days in software, "English (US)" and "English (UK)".)

But that's mostly in the past now, as it's become more common to have hierarchies of languages, e.g. "English" as the overall language, and within it, the various dialects. (For example, in Apple and Microsoft products, "English" is the main language, and all the dialects exist, too. Moreover, the software understands the relationship, so if you set "English (US)" as your preferred language, it will use that if available, but will use a generic "English" if not.)

What I would not agree is that if a program is written in (American) English, and offers only one dialect of English, that it must be called "American English". If only one dialect of English user interface is provided, then calling it "English" is absolutely fine, regardless of which dialect it uses.

On the other hand, when it comes to the names of spell check dictionaries, I'm entirely in favor of being explicit about which dialect is intended, since this is the largest area of difference between the dialects, and one where it is typically mandatory to use one or the other consistently.



To bring this full circle, the only thing that really genuinely annoys me, as opposed to merely irking me, is the sheer arrogance of a certain type of Norteamericano towards languages other than their own Inglés norteamericano exemplified by the original message that sparked the whole sub-thread off.
I'm not even sure which message that is at this point! :P

Oh, and for the record, no normal person in England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales calls a kitchen tap a "faucet", curtains "drapes", the boot of a car "the trunk", nor says "gotten".
That's OK, nobody's perfect! :P

Actually, what's weird to me is that the British think we don't use words that we do, in fact, use. Some are true (like the boot of a car), but sooooo many of the words the British believe Americans don't use, we actually do use as well! Tap vs. faucet vs. spigot is a largely regional thing in USA, but anyone will understand both. (And we universally say "tap water" — the terms "faucet water" and "spigot water" don't exist). We mostly call curtains curtains, and we are happy to refer to the season following summer as either "fall" or "autumn" interchangeably. In other words, just because the UK uses only one word for something doesn't necessarily mean that the US only uses the other word.

Faucet vs. tap reminds me of a contrived tale I tell to illustrate the hardcore Baltimore accent: Suppose you were in an accident. The ambalanz picked you up and took you to the hospital. So she goes to the florist and picks up a bowkay of flahers with money she took out of her pockeybook. When she gets to your room, she takes the flahers and puts them in a vase, then goes to the zink and fills it up with wooder. While visiting, you agree that once you're well again, you'll pack up the car and drive downy ayshin to enjoy the beach.

(Translation: Suppose you were in an accident. The ambulance picked you up and took you to the hospital. So she goes to the florist and picks up a bouquet of flowers with money she took out of her purse. When she gets to your room, she takes the flowers and puts them in a vase, then goes to the sink and fills it up with water. While visiting, you agree that once you're well again, you'll pack up the car and drive [down] to [the] ocean to enjoy the beach.)

Also:   :-DD

Yes, much of American English does seem to be much closer to Elizabethan era English than modern English. That doesn't lend it any more or less authenticity.
Of course. It's just a very real response to the common, but totally incorrect, belief that contemporary British English is somehow more authentic to the "original" English and that American English is a corruption of (modern) British English. American English is, frankly, a very obvious mix of all the different Englishes that it evolved from, with the later arrival of Irish English having a significant influence on modern pronunciation, but with Scottish and Welsh English also coming into play in addition to old British English. Meanwhile, British English actually evolved away from the common ancestor English more than American English did. So none of them are "authentic", since they all evolved since the point of separation.
 

Offline tooki

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Just for fun, Cerebus, the longest current 'word' in German is...
"Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft", meaning...
"Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services"
Clear as mud!!   :-+
Well, that's one of many contrived fake long German words. ;)

The current longest word in actual use is Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften, meaning "prepaid legal insurance companies", and the longest dictionary entry is the somewhat shorter Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung (motor vehicle liability insurance).

One former longest real word was part of the name of a since-rescinded law, the Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, meaning the "beef labeling supervision duties delegation law", itself merely a single word of the short form (!) title, the Rinderkennzeichnungs- und Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, meaning "cattle marking and beef labeling supervision duties delegation law". The long-form title was Gesetz zur Übertragung der Aufgaben für die Überwachung der Rinderkennzeichnung und Rindfleischetikettierung ("law on delegation of duties for supervision of cattle marking and beef labeling"). It is not lost on me that the "short" form is only about 10% shorter than the long form! But the initialism just rolls off the tongue: RkReÜAÜG

And people say the Germans don't have a way with words! :P
« Last Edit: March 29, 2020, 10:33:01 pm by tooki »
 

Offline tooki

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Also:


 ;D
 

Offline Cerebus

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I'm not even sure which message that is at this point! :P

The fellow who thought the whole world ought to be made to speak English for the benefit of lazy Americans.

So she goes to the florist and picks up a bowkay of flahers with money she took out of her pockeybook.

So wot's wrong wiv dat? Dat's aah ya say 'bowkay' and 'flahers', only aah reckon ere's anuver aay in flaahrs. I fort you was a Linguist, but it saands like ya ain't got a clue wot proper English saands like, and by 'at nacherly aah means Lunun English a caus. Aah naa 'at ere's em oo'll claim that air's uvver sorts ov English, but they ayn't propa if ya gets me drift. U av naa idea ow 'ard it is to write like wot aah talks like.

Bloody 'ell, I'm naa officially exausted! Sod is fa a game ov soljers.

Or "Sod this for a game of soldiers". It's struck me more than once that if you could pull just the layer of generic American accent off the top of a Baltimore accent you'd get something very like the London accent. A lot of the words whose pronunciation appears to seem atypical to an American would seem normal to a gor-blimey Londoner like me, like flaahrs, pretty flaahrs.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline Cerebus

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Also:


 ;D

After watching that I can say that the English and German are completely comprehensible, the lass from Zurich marginally comprehensible, the lad from Valais completely incomprehensible except when he basically spoke French. Oh, well at least the Valais have the best sheep in the world:

Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 
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Offline blueskull

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Just for fun, Cerebus, the longest current 'word' in German is...
"Donaudampfschifffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft", meaning...
"Association for Subordinate Officials of the Head Office Management of the Danube Steamboat Electrical Services"
Clear as mud!!   :-+

Be glad. Chinese, Japanese and Korean don't have white spaces at all. You have to delimit words after knowing their meanings.
 

Offline tooki

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I'm not even sure which message that is at this point! :P

The fellow who thought the whole world ought to be made to speak English for the benefit of lazy Americans.
Oh, that. That post was so dumb I didn't deign to respond.

With that said, it must be acknowledged that Americans and Brits are equally, um, "revered" around the world for being the boorish tourists who authoritatively expect everyone in every country to speak English.


So wot's wrong wiv dat? Dat's aah ya say 'bowkay' and 'flahers', only aah reckon ere's anuver aay in flaahrs. I fort you was a Linguist, but it saands like ya ain't got a clue wot proper English saands like, and by 'at nacherly aah means Lunun English a caus. Aah naa 'at ere's em oo'll claim that air's uvver sorts ov English, but they ayn't propa if ya gets me drift. U av naa idea ow 'ard it is to write like wot aah talks like.
Oh, believe me, I do!!!

Wanna see something impressive? Read Stephen King's book "Dolores Claiborne". Yes, the movie is great, because Kathy Bates makes anything great. (And the movie is extremely faithful to the book.) If you've seen the film, you might recall that it's actually Dolores recounting the story. No biggie as such. What's insane is that the book also follows that format, and the entire book is written in the Maine accent!!  :o I remember that when I first read it, it took me about 30 pages to actually figure out the accent, upon which I started the book from the beginning again to make sure I picked up all the details I missed the first time around.

So yeah. An entire book written like that. And it's a King book, so not exactly a low page count.

Almost as impressive as the dude who wrote a book (in English) that doesn't use a single letter "e".


Bloody 'ell, I'm naa officially exausted! Sod is fa a game ov soljers.

Or "Sod this for a game of soldiers". It's struck me more than once that if you could pull just the layer of generic American accent off the top of a Baltimore accent you'd get something very like the London accent. A lot of the words whose pronunciation appears to seem atypical to an American would seem normal to a gor-blimey Londoner like me, like flaahrs, pretty flaahrs.
:P

FYI, though, I don't think "flahers" is pronounced the same in London and Baltimore, the latter pronunciation actually steps on the toes of the word "flares"!
 

Offline Cerebus

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Wanna see something impressive? Read Stephen King's book "Dolores Claiborne". Yes, the movie is great, because Kathy Bates makes anything great. (And the movie is extremely faithful to the book.) If you've seen the film, you might recall that it's actually Dolores recounting the story. No biggie as such. What's insane is that the book also follows that format, and the entire book is written in the Maine accent!!  :o I remember that when I first read it, it took me about 30 pages to actually figure out the accent, upon which I started the book from the beginning again to make sure I picked up all the details I missed the first time around.

I'll pass. Reading stuff written like that gives me as much of a headache as trying to write it. The only exception was the Nadsat in Clockwork Orange, which was so well done that I could just pick up the language as I went along. For all the other writers I've encountered trying to do it I'd rather have a tolchock in the yarbles that have to get through a whole 200+ pages of the stuff.

Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline tooki

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Wanna see something impressive? Read Stephen King's book "Dolores Claiborne". Yes, the movie is great, because Kathy Bates makes anything great. (And the movie is extremely faithful to the book.) If you've seen the film, you might recall that it's actually Dolores recounting the story. No biggie as such. What's insane is that the book also follows that format, and the entire book is written in the Maine accent!!  :o I remember that when I first read it, it took me about 30 pages to actually figure out the accent, upon which I started the book from the beginning again to make sure I picked up all the details I missed the first time around.

I'll pass. Reading stuff written like that gives me as much of a headache as trying to write it. The only exception was the Nadsat in Clockwork Orange, which was so well done that I could just pick up the language as I went along. For all the other writers I've encountered trying to do it I'd rather have a tolchock in the yarbles that have to get through a whole 200+ pages of the stuff.
200pp? Come on. The current paperback edition is 336 pages, so it's just a short story, really!  ;D

(As a teen, I read most of King's novels to that point, most of which were 600-1000 page paperbacks!)
 

Offline bsfeechannel

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Be glad. Chinese, Japanese and Korean don't have white spaces at all. You have to delimit words after knowing their meanings.

TheearlyRomanscriptdidnthavespacesoranykindofpunctuation. Later·they·developed·these·dots·to·separate·the·words, then finally dropped them altogether leaving the spaces we know today.
 
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Offline TheHolyHorse

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Uh. Do you find any other language disgusting (  :-// ), or do you just find the translations themselves usually so poor that they are disgusting?

It's not that the translation it self is bad, it's just that the swedish language just doesn't work well with certain subjects. Like talking about computers, programming, cars, electronics etc most technical things, the translations are just bad and you can't do much about it.

So because computers, programming, cars and electronics are all things I spend my free time on and thus read, write and talk alot about over the internet and IRL. That's why I really don't want websites translated, if it's written in English it should stay in English.

Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Yes you are. Websites should be on the local language. It would be VERY boring if everything was in english.

They should be in whatever language they were initially written in with options to translate it to whatever language someone would want to.
 

Online Gromitt

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Uh. Do you find any other language disgusting (  :-// ), or do you just find the translations themselves usually so poor that they are disgusting?

It's not that the translation it self is bad, it's just that the swedish language just doesn't work well with certain subjects. Like talking about computers, programming, cars, electronics etc most technical things, the translations are just bad and you can't do much about it.

So because computers, programming, cars and electronics are all things I spend my free time on and thus read, write and talk alot about over the internet and IRL. That's why I really don't want websites translated, if it's written in English it should stay in English.

Swedish works very well in those areas, It is just that some people automatically assume this regarding Swedish. English has polluted the minds of many in Sweden, just hear how many pronounce the word 'Euro' wrong.
 
 

Offline tooki

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Uh. Do you find any other language disgusting (  :-// ), or do you just find the translations themselves usually so poor that they are disgusting?

It's not that the translation it self is bad, it's just that the swedish language just doesn't work well with certain subjects. Like talking about computers, programming, cars, electronics etc most technical things, the translations are just bad and you can't do much about it.

So because computers, programming, cars and electronics are all things I spend my free time on and thus read, write and talk alot about over the internet and IRL. That's why I really don't want websites translated, if it's written in English it should stay in English.

Swedish works very well in those areas, It is just that some people automatically assume this regarding Swedish. English has polluted the minds of many in Sweden, just hear how many pronounce the word 'Euro' wrong.
What is the correct Swedish pronunciation? The pronunciations I'm familiar with are English ("your oh"), Spanish/Italian/etc ("eh oo ro"), French ("er oh"), and German ("oy ro").
 

Online Gromitt

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Am I really the only who, really wouldn't want english websites translated? I hate it when I open a program or website and it's not english, it's disgusting.

Uh. Do you find any other language disgusting (  :-// ), or do you just find the translations themselves usually so poor that they are disgusting?

It's not that the translation it self is bad, it's just that the swedish language just doesn't work well with certain subjects. Like talking about computers, programming, cars, electronics etc most technical things, the translations are just bad and you can't do much about it.

So because computers, programming, cars and electronics are all things I spend my free time on and thus read, write and talk alot about over the internet and IRL. That's why I really don't want websites translated, if it's written in English it should stay in English.

Swedish works very well in those areas, It is just that some people automatically assume this regarding Swedish. English has polluted the minds of many in Sweden, just hear how many pronounce the word 'Euro' wrong.
What is the correct Swedish pronunciation? The pronunciations I'm familiar with are English ("your oh"), Spanish/Italian/etc ("eh oo ro"), French ("er oh"), and German ("oy ro").

The correct Swedish pronunciation is something like "eh uh ro" or "eh v ro" (both are correct) but people often pronounce it like in English.
 
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