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Funny translation of the week #6

The latest Spamish translations were admittedly slightly depressing. So this time I was determined to find a really funny one, and I found it at Here goes the screenshot:

And the back translation:

Subjugate the news

We are always in the look towards the outside in order to the most last one news in the contrivances and the technology. If you find anything that you would like to share with the rest of the world please may we know about him. We can't guarantee in order to publish all the news that we receive but if they are accesorioy, it makes us laugh and to know what the F5 key does, he you have a great opportunity.

The best place to leave a suggestion of the contrivance is via our contrivance suggestions forum (fun that), if you have a sensation of the launching of press freely to fix it in press launchings and the product news forum where it will be seen by the CG team and other bloggers of the contrivance.

You can send rotatingly a message via the form but this is generally slower than fixing in the forum.

It's obviously an automatic translation, and if you are in that kind of mood, a funny one. Not sure if they have much success in getting their Hispanic readers to subjugate news for them though...



Another disappointment with a "hyper-qualified" Spanish translator

So I had the chance to test a new professional Spanish translator who seemed very promising. He had a wide scope of education in several subjects including university training in translation, along with years of experience in the profession and clearly determined areas of expertise.

The outcome? The Spanish text he delivered was mostly terminologically accurate and it carried no misspellings. That is almost all the positive side there was to it.

Two basic principles were completely overlooked: the passive voice is far less commonly used in Spanish than in English (Spanish uses the active voice in all but rare cases), and possessive adjectives are also less frequently used in Spanish which just constructs sentences in a different way. These are just two examples, and when basic principles such as these are not respected by the translator, then it is likely that many other basic and not that basic issues will be present in his or her text. The overall translation in these cases is somewhat artificial and uses a poor style, reproducing the way sentences are constructed in English rather than generating a Spanish text that looks like an original, which should be the aim of all professional Spanish translators.

Solid qualifications are many times the only means for some translation buyers to predict the performance of a potential translator provider. The problem is, a solid profile alone is not a full guarantee of quality performance as I have regular proof. This is why I apply the utmost care and careful testing to my prospective collaborators. I also always review the work of my trusted and regular collaborators, because even highly skilled professionals are human and can produce light errors. I am far from infallible myself, but when two quality-aware professionals work together and complement each other, chances are that they will produce an excellent quality final product. But quality must be there from the beginning (the translator).

I am considering the possibility of creating a new weekly section sharing key Spanish translation guidelines, because I can't stand the thought of this kind of performance becoming the standard, and I would like to help my Spanish translator colleagues if I can, whether they work for JB Translations or not.



Spamish translation of the week #5

Just to prove me wrong, here comes New Zealand College with an even higher density of serious misspellings than the Spamish translation featured last week. Here is a screenshot from one of their "Spanish" pages.

Screenshot from New Zealand College website's Spanish version

My back translation follows. Please note that the title "Application Procedure" was left in English for no good reason, so I rightly translated it into Spanish for effect. Also, when you see an accent in English—which of course uses none—this is because of an accent mistake in the Spanish translation. All misspellings are in italics:

Procedimiento de inscripción:

1. Sénd ás soon as possible the applicatión and the homestay request form by fax or mail.

2. NCZ will sénd the invoice minus the commissín of the agent. And other data about th estudent to be confirmed.

3. Sénd the fees by wire transfer, certified check, Visa card.

4. Upon receiving from the fees NZC will sénd an acceptánce letter. In order to accelerate this procedure, you can send a copy of your transfer of bank by telefax, NZC alternatedly to send by telefax a copy of the acceptnce letter. All charges of the bank in your cóuntry must be covered by the agent or by the student. NZC will cóver charges of the local bank only. Please investigate in your bank in order to other details.

5. The whole payment of funds must be received before arranging Homestay, collection of the airport be organized and at least ten das before the student startz classes

That's at least 20 word-level errors on this short text, not to mention errors beyond the word level. This time there is no possible excuse, defense, or extenuating circumstance for such a poor language performance. They are a language school! They offer English, not Spanish classes all right. But they have (or should have) enough linguistic awareness not to assign their website translation into Spanish to the first Spanish-speaking student of theirs who will accept ten bucks to do the job. Sorry for the acid criticism, but I find this intolerable on the part of a language school. They would have been much better off by just keeping the English version if they didn't feel like investing in professional translation. I know that as a father, I would never send my children to learn a language in a school which seems to care so little about the language they use. Pretty obvious reasoning, but apparently not so obvious for them...



Permalink 04:53:48 pm, Categories: For translation buyers, Spanish language & translation, 96 words  

Hispanic Marketing Conference

Taken from Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations weblog and podcast:

Next week, marketing experts will present different ways on how marketers can reach Hispanic consumers at the U.S. Hispanic Marketing Conference, held at the Hilton Del Mar in San Diego, California from Monday through Thursday. During the conference, which is produced by the International Quality and Production Center, speakers will share marketing approaches and available strategies to brand products to the escalating Hispanic consumer population in the United States.

Looks like a very interesting offering if you are considering the significant U.S. Hispanic market...

Permalink 07:33:31 am, Categories: For translation buyers, For professional translators, 30 words  


Poor translations are of course not restricted to English into Spanish territory. Here's a recently discovered (by me) web page with many examples of funny Chinese into English translations. Enjoy!



Spamish translation of the week #4

It's been some time since I last saw such a great concentration of serious misspellings on a website. Some of these misspellings completely change the meaning of the words. But misspellings (which I have marked in italics) are not the only problem in this Spanish page of American River College's website. Many sentences just do not make any sense. This is a pity, since one would think that an educational institution would know better, and the nature of their offering on this page (training for foster parents) would also greatly deserve it. Here you can see some excerpts:

FKCE: El colegio comunitario de padres de crianza y parientes. Patrocinando y dando mas y mas. Nosotros sabemos que dar cuidado como tu lo entiendes, ser padres de niños de otros no es solamente darles calor y afecto. Como sea tu estas tomando la responsabilidad de cuidar a un niño de familia; o que biene del sistema de padres de crianza. Nosotros entendemos que esto es

(Sentence ends here.)

Llendo a educación para padres de crianza. La ley de California requiere completar doce horas anuales de educación para padres de crianza para obtener la licencia dándole a estos niños para estar en el sistema de la corte; con grandes historiales de abuso y negligencia como nunca antes, estos serán mas importantes que nunca; para el crecimiento excelente con el conocimiento del sistema de la corte reforcando y patrocinando al sistema.

Programa de vida independiente (ILP)
Prepara a jóvenes de crianza de 16 a 21 anos de edad. Para que se desarrollen dentro de la vida independiente de adulto. Los estudiantes aprenden formas para clasificar y procesar el trabajo y financiamiento.

And the back-translation:

FKCE: The community college for relatives and foster parents. Sponsoring and giving móre and móre. We know that caring for as yoú understand it, being parents of another's children is not only giving them warmth and affection. However it is yoú áre taking the responsibility of caring for a child of family; or that komes from the foster parents system. We understand that this is

(Sentence ends here.)

Woing to education for foster parents. The law of California requires completing twelve hours of education a year for foster parents in order to obtain the license giving to these children in order to be in the system of the court; with big histories of abuse and neglect as never before, these will be móre important than ever; for the excellent growth with the knowledge of the system of the court reinforcking and sponsoring to the system.

Independent Life Program (ILP)
Prepares foster youth from 16 to 21 anus of age. So they develop within the independent life of an adult. The students learn ways to classify and process the work and funding.

The message that this page conveys is the following: our Hispanic readers are not worth a hundred and some dollars to us (which is what it would cost to have the full page translated professionally.) What a pity, because the college's intended message for Spanish-speaking readers was probably quite the opposite, but not enough thought and adequate means were devoted to ensure a positive outcome for this translation.



Spamish translation of the week #3

This translation is the result of Oncolink's well-intended effort to have their website contents translated and reviewed internally, by their Hispanic staff who are not professional translators but are experts in their field.

Besides the very serious word-level issues encountered, there are some phrase order issues that I've decided to recreate in English to the best of my ability. To accomplish this, I needed to alter the word order in one occasion so it would sound just as awkward in English as it sounds in Spanish. So here goes the excerpt I selected (the awkwardness was present in all the website pages I "inspected"):

Asiento Caliente

De acuerdo con nuestra misión de ofrecer información sobre el cáncer a una audiencia en todo el mundo, OncoLink ha desarrollado traducciones al español de los contenidos claves de nuestro sitio de Web. Información para el paciente ha sido traducido al español por enfermeras con educación avanzada que especializan en oncológia y son nativas a la lengua española y ha sido repasado para certeza medica y sensitividad cultural por oncólogos nativos a la lengua española.

And the back translation:

Hot Seat

According to our mission of offering information about cancer to a world-wide audience, OncoLink has developed translations to Spanish for the keys contents of our site of Web. Has been translated to Spanish by nurses who make special in oncólogy and are native to the Spanish language, and has been reviewed in order to medical certainty and cultural sensitivity by oncologists who are native to the Spanish language, information for the patients.

Besides what you can see, there were also some serious gender and number issues that couldn't be reproduced in the English back-translation because of the differences between English and Spanish.

Translation is treacherous. It is so easy to be mislead and influenced by the original text with its different grammar structures and expressions, and fall in countless other traps along the way. If you are not a professional translator you might be very happy with the translation you have produced, but your readers will "suffer" a very different impression. Of course that you understand what you have translated, but your readers have not read the original text like you have. So a flawed translation won't do the job for them.

(On the other hand, if your readers had actually read and understood the original text like you have, they wouldn't really need your translation.) ;)

Nothing can replace translation expertise and skills, not even your employees' bilingualism and technical expertise in your field...



Permalink 03:09:17 pm, Categories: For professional translators, 69 words  

Talking about resources for translators...

Taken from About Translation blog:

Microsoft has released a new multilingual glossary, which can be freely downloaded from here.

Again good news for translators. In the computer and software field, Microsoft's terminology has become a widely accepted standard. From now on, searching Microsoft's glossaries should be easier, faster and more effective. Hopefully we won't miss any needed information (the new glossary is much more concise than the older ones.)



Permalink 10:02:32 pm, Categories: For professional translators, 81 words  

Updated list of resources for translators

I just updated an earlier post that included a list of information resources for freelance translators, especially prospective or beginning ones. These are the two resources that were added:

- Roger Chriss' "Translation as a Profession" series of articles (free access).

- Chantal Wilford's free translation tips. She also offers a paid ebook product with additional advice.

These resources provide lots of useful insights to help you in your early (and not so early) efforts in this demanding profession. So go for it!



Permalink 01:16:48 am, Categories: For professional translators, 82 words  

Need more resources for your research?

From Naked Translations blog:

144 public library authorities in England have joined together for the first time to share the cost of a 2-year national licence for a range of OUP's online resources. This means that anyone who is a member of a subscribing library . . . can access for free and from any computer "the entire Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, and 170 other dictionaries, companions and atlases on a myriad of subjects"..

Good news for us translators...



Spamish translation of the week #2

Here go the most brilliant excerpts of Big D Apartments' "About Us" page in Spanish:

Nuestras adentro descripciones profundidades de las propiedades y agentes útiles pueden hacer su búsqueda para un apartamento agradable y lío-libre.

Big D combina tecnología y servicio personal para proveer de usted la manera más fácil de encontrar apartamentos de la estofa en el Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

And the back-translation for your delight:

Our inside descriptions depths of the properties and useful agents can make your search for a pleasant and mess-up-at-will apartment.

Big D combines technology and personal service to provide of you the easiest way to find apartments of the disreputable kind in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

What else is there to say?


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