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TorgoX (1933)


"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Monday April 29, 2002
02:51 PM

More on Apache::MP3 translation

[ #4537 ]
Dear Log,

Interesting phenomenon I'm running into with the Apache::MP3 localization: many (maybe even most?) of the translators are saying that while "Artist", "Year", "Play all" are just great to translate into their language, they are very hesitant about how and whether to translate "bitrate" or even "track number" or the like. They all say things like "well, anyone who would understand a transation of the term would also understand the English", and then they differ on whether they then say "so here's the translation anyway" or instead "so I've just left it in English". It's very interesting that English has that strange position in world languages (and world cultures) where people can just say "enh, don't bother translating that, it's fine just being left in English".

Another thing I didn't anticipate: race conditions! I've now got two different Swedish translations, two different Spanish ones, and I think three different Portuguese ones, because people answered my email at the same time!

So far, when I've asked various translators about the points in which other translators' text differs from theirs, about 40% of the time they say "Either way, that's exactly the same", about 40% of the time they say "Ohyeah, that other guy's way sounds better!", and about 20% of the time they say "Ew! The way the other guy did it sounds really really weird!". It's very weird and intriguing being totally blind to the differences between the translations -- for example, like whether the best way to translate into Spanish the idea of random/shuffled order is as "aleatorio" or "aleatorizado". I can tell that both get the idea across, but I've no sense of the different tone of each.

New language in the mail today: Apache::MP3 in Malay! Whee!

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  • by ziggy (25) on 2002.04.29 15:21 (#7700) Journal
    Here's a classic story about adopting English vs. a translated English term.

    Unlike the French, Israelis are interested in coining new terms and expanding Hebrew. Obvious when you consider that the language was dead for almost two millenia. (Imagine a language without a word for «Renaissance», but a wide variety of words for «sacrifice/offering»).

    Sometime over the last 20-30 years, someone realized that there was no direct translation for «baby sitter». So the industrious Israelis (I forget which group at which university is charged with creating new words) dug deep into the bible and coined a new term that roughly meant «guardian of the chidren».

    But it didn't take.

    Most Israelis who needed baby sitters understood a decent amount of English and use the other new Hebrew term: «baby-sitter» (suitbly transliterated, of course).

  • One problem that confused me was the alleged difference between "Play" and "Stream". Maybe I just don't do enough MP3 (I do none :-) to appreciate the difference. So I opted as the French did to translate them as the same.

    (And yes, the bitrate/samplerate difference was a bit confusing for Finnish, too. I can translate "rate" as "taajuus" which also means "frequency", and "sample" as "näyte", but at "bit" I must resort to "bitti" which is just a loanword with a very transparent derivation.)

  • Sometimes it's easier to keep the english word instead of picking one of the possible translations. This reduces risks of being ambiguous or misunderstood by your readers.

    Sometimes the target language is simply not expressive enough to coin a good translation. A typical example is the french word télécharger, which translates upload and download. You'll use the french word when the context is clear. When you have to be more specific, the english words come to mind.