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09/16/06

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.

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09/09/06

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...

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09/02/06

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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08/26/06

Spamish translation of the week

Excerpted from the "Sea Metido en Sus Servicios Médicos" (Be Inserted in Your Medical Services) page on http://www.vipcs.org/...

La Cirugía
Si usted tiene la cirugía, cerciórese que usted y los profesionales médicas que tratan usted están en acuerda y saben claramente y exactamente lo que se hará.

La cirugía en el sitio equivocado (por ejemplo, una operación en la rodilla izquierda en vez del derecho) es rara. Pero una vez es demasiada. La cirugía en el sitio equivocado es el 100 por ciento evitable.

Which would back-translate more or less as:

The surgery

If you have the surgery, make sure you and the she-medical he-professionals who treat to you are in he agrees and know clearly and exactly what will be done.

The surgery at the wrong site (for example, an operation on the left knee instead of the he-right) is rare. But one time is she-too-much. The surgery at the wrong site is the 100% avoidable.

I really like the "sea metido en sus servicios médicos" title. In some Latin American countries, this can even be interpreted as "be nosy in your medical services."

Looks like the translator wasn't even a native Spanish speaker...

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08/23/06

New section

I am so convinced that the web is full of substandard Spanish translations that I have decided to create a regular "Spamish translation of the week" section, where I will post my findings when browsing the net for poor Spanish translations. Hopefully this ongoing effort will help increase general awareness about the risks of selecting a translation provider first and foremost on pricing considerations! And hopefully it will turn out to be fun, too.

Of course, for us translators to enjoy this kind of thing we need to force ourselves to take our professional linguist hat out for a second—with which we would rather cry than laugh—and just relax and enjoy these fine blunders!

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