Use of Other Languages

In the days of good online translators, isn't the requirement to providde an English translation of foreign phrases a bit antiquated?
«1

Comments

  • Speaking as somebody who earns their living thanks to, and sometimes especially because of, the ongoing incompetence of online translation software:

    No.
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    Speaking as somebody who earns their living thanks to, and sometimes especially because of, the ongoing incompetence of online translation software:

    No.

    Supported, because the context in which a foreign phrase is used, can determine its precise meaning and I'm not sure that is what the poster intends. Can we keep everything in English please?

    Then again, there are quotes from Shakespeare that are misused or misunderstead.
  • It's a bit of a pain if one has to keep checking an on-line translator (often inaccurate) while reading a thread, when an in-post translation can be offered.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    Especially if you're reading on a phone.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited September 6
    Not to mention that there are any number of things that sound perfectly innocent on Google Translate but turn out to be ... interesting... if you actually speak the language. Like "ba muoi lam" in Vietnamese. Literally means "thirty-five." Actually means "horny." Or "muc day" (pardon really bad spelling, I haven't seen this written) which means literally "uneducated" but ought to be translated "mother fucker".
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    edited September 6
    Ok. Fine, keep the Ship in twentieth century. I find, as a relative newbie, that the shift is very slow to initiative often on par with the Anglican Church of Canada.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited September 6
    T'es relou, laisse béton, mec.

    ('you are relou let concrete guy', according to Google Translate; I'm sure that's clear enough for you).
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Caissa, languages have subtleties with which Google Translate cannot deal. If one speaker of a language insults another speaker in that language on these boards, and the injured party complains to the hosts, the hosts would have no way of assessing the merits of the claim if they are not familiar with the language.

    You appear to have received the latest copy of the Anglican Journal . Go be mad at that.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    I'm not mad; L just think the policy is outdated. Obviously, I am in a minority.
  • Note to self: never refer to a 35-year-old uneducated man in Vietnamese...

    I don't think the policy is outdated so much as the technology you think should substitute for it is not yet sufficiently advanced.

    But then, when it comes to tech, I tend to increasingly fall on the Luddite side of the scale, so don't judge by me.
  • Not every innovation is something that it's good to adopt. The aim here is to discuss, and quality discussion requires clarity in communication. Poorly translated non-English may be slightly clearer than untranslated non-English ... but, no where near as clear as decent English. What would be the benefit of holding discussions in different languages?
  • If only those backward Babylonians had downloaded the right app on their smart phones, just think of the trouble that would have saved them with that Tower thingy. Darned troglodytes.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    This is a way to see how good translation software is these days: https://forums.shipoffools.com/discussion/1876/the-google-translate-song-lyric-game/p1?new=1
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Eutychus wrote: »
    T'es relou, laisse béton, mec.

    ('you are relou let concrete guy', according to Google Translate; I'm sure that's clear enough for you).

    Gee, I got "You're relooking, leave concrete, dude."

    Google Translate is not ready for prime time.

  • Hedgehog wrote: »
    Note to self: never refer to a 35-year-old uneducated man in Vietnamese...

    I don't think the policy is outdated so much as the technology you think should substitute for it is not yet sufficiently advanced.
    The level of technology isn't the point. The point is that using a foreign language without a translation makes someone else do one's own work.
    It is lazy and rude.

  • Caissa wrote: »
    I'm not mad; L just think the policy is outdated. Obviously, I am in a minority.
    Did you miss the parts where the technology isn't up to spec? One needs to be almost to the point of not needing a translator for most translation programmes to reliable enough to use.
    And, I said to Hedgehog, it is just lazy and rude.
  • Amazingly, I agree with @lilbuddha.

    At a recent professional translators' meeting we had a professional researcher into machine translation come in and vaunt its alleged merits. The thing is of the devil. Well, it's useful up to a point, but there are some things it just can't do and is unlikely to be able to for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, it has a tendency to dumb down language and erode cultural diversity.

    Perhaps the best way of explaining it would be to say that we're as likely to be able to have access to the much-needed functioning irony meter on the Ship as we are to gain any actual benefit from online translation in this context.
  • I remember using Google Translate on a German passage a while ago. It spoke about men having "cathedrals". This puzzled me, until I realised the word should have been translated as "erections".
  • A colleague in Fukushima once prepared a presentation of the work he'd done prior to arriving in Japan, and decided it would be helpful if he adds a (Google) translation of bullet points on his slides so that anyone who couldn't read English would be able to understand what was written (it, of course, didn't change the fact that he had to speak in English). Following the talk he was politely advised by the Japanese support staff not to do that again, if he was to give talks to audiences who didn't speak English then they could translate slides for him.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I remember using Google Translate on a German passage a while ago. It spoke about men having "cathedrals". This puzzled me, until I realised the word should have been translated as "erections".
    👏👏. I think I'm going to adopt that term as a convenient alternative to 'wigwam'.

  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited September 7
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Hedgehog wrote: »
    Note to self: never refer to a 35-year-old uneducated man in Vietnamese...

    I don't think the policy is outdated so much as the technology you think should substitute for it is not yet sufficiently advanced.
    The level of technology isn't the point.
    It’s part of the point. All of the other issues that have been raised, including by you, are valid. But technology-wise, it is also an issue that often when people here post a phrase in another language, the phrase is idiomatic, like the examples @Lamb Chopped gave from Vietnamese. Meaning will be lost in the translations of online translators.

  • This problem exists not only in trying to translate something into 'decent' English, but the other way round also trying to translate something into 'decent' German. I was reading something about a historic building in Stirling ,Scotland which was put into German as 'die heilige,unhoefliche Kirche' which means 'the holy rude church.' It took me sometime to think what the translation was getting at, since churchmen are indeed sometimes 'rude.
    I understood that it was really 'the Holy Rude church only when I saw a few lines further down some discussion about a man called 'Kerl Fawkes' -' Kerl' in German is the word for a 'guy' (Holy Rude is an old fashioned way of spelling Holy Rood and good Anglicans will know what that means)
  • Dang. I would have guessed they were going for “primitive”. Which is yet another example of why translation software doesn’t cut the mustard yet.
  • I remember using Google Translate on a German passage a while ago. It spoke about men having "cathedrals". This puzzled me, until I realised the word should have been translated as "erections".

    I am so stealing that euphemism.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Considering the amount of trouble native speakers of English (granted, different brands thereof) have in understanding one another's posts in their (nearly)common language, one language is surely plenty.

    Though if there were volunteer hosts fluent in an alternative language, perhaps a private board for threads in French or German or Vietnamese, etc. might be a possibility. I'd love to be able to practice my dwindling German (but am nowhere near fluent enough to host such an undertaking).
  • Ohher wrote: »
    Though if there were volunteer hosts fluent in an alternative language, perhaps a private board for threads in French or German or Vietnamese, etc. might be a possibility. I'd love to be able to practice my dwindling German (but am nowhere near fluent enough to host such an undertaking).

    Wasn't there a Private Board like that on the Old Ship? Or am I misremembering again?

  • CruntCrunt Shipmate
    Pigwidgeon wrote: »
    Ohher wrote: »
    Though if there were volunteer hosts fluent in an alternative language, perhaps a private board for threads in French or German or Vietnamese, etc. might be a possibility. I'd love to be able to practice my dwindling German (but am nowhere near fluent enough to host such an undertaking).

    Wasn't there a Private Board like that on the Old Ship? Or am I misremembering again?

    I remember trying to join a Welsh (or more likely, French) board on the old ship, but for some reason or other I never managed to get into it. it was a good idea, I thought.
  • There was a definitely a French board. As I see it the problem was that you need a critical mass of people to have a conversation, and you need to have topics of conversation.

    A more straightforward solution might be simply to join another discussion board in the language of your choice. I'm on at least one other special-interest board with dedicated language sections.
  • Eutychus wrote: »
    There was a definitely a French board. As I see it the problem was that you need a critical mass of people to have a conversation, and you need to have topics of conversation.

    A more straightforward solution might be simply to join another discussion board in the language of your choice. I'm on at least one other special-interest board with dedicated language sections.

    From what I remember, there was a board whose name escapes me. it had threads for various languages. The languages allowed depended on whether there was a Host who could read them well enough to spot any issues.
  • Surely that wasn't a problem if the Hosts had the gift of interpreting tongues? ;)
  • Surely that wasn't a problem if the Hosts had the gift of interpreting tongues? ;)

    May not help if the tongue is German or French
  • Is “quid pro quo” permissible on the Ship? Asking for an orange acquaintance.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    Crœsos wrote: »
    Is “quid pro quo” permissible on the Ship? Asking for an orange acquaintance.

    Generally speaking, if it appears in an English language dictionary, it is probably considered sufficiently inducted for use.
  • Yep, it's de rigueur.
  • No it's not. That would mean it was mandatory, not that it was acceptable.
  • Oops. My faux pas.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    I'll subpoena you to provide your French dictionary.
  • You'll get my Le Robert Micro when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
  • It seems to me it is reasonable for an English-language site to try to ensure everyone at least has a chance of understanding what everyone else is saying.

    But I would counsel against using loose language like "foreign phrase".

    Of course, a first language is not "foreign" to the person using it.

    All of the countries where we live likely have more than one "native" language. The point here is not that the language is "foreign", using one common meaning in English ("strange, unfamiliar") but just that it is a language which uses vocabulary that a majority of other users cannot understand.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Blahblah wrote: »
    But I would counsel against using loose language like "foreign phrase".

    Of course, a first language is not "foreign" to the person using it.

    Quite. My department at work, formerly known as "English, Fine Arts, and Foreign Languages" has dropped the "foreign" bit for this reason.
  • To my shame, this didn't really come home to me until our first daughter was born in France. I went down to the town hall to check on birth certificate registration and was told "well, there's no question: she's a foreigner".
  • I was mostly thinking of my compatriots where I live who by some accounts speak 50 different languages, including some which have been spoken by their ancestors here longer than English.

    It's probably fair to ask people on a French website about happenings in France to translate anything that isn't French. But it might well be a tad rude to describe the Breton language as foreign.

    On an international website, the chances are that there are many languages we don't collectively speak that are not "foreign".

    I don't mean to make a big deal of this, but as I said for those of us who live in non-English cultures, dismissing phrases in languages the majority don't speak as "foreign" is a bit insensitive.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited September 26
    Blahblah wrote: »
    I was mostly thinking of my compatriots where I live who by some accounts speak 50 different languages, including some which have been spoken by their ancestors here longer than English.

    It's probably fair to ask people on a French website about happenings in France to translate anything that isn't French. But it might well be a tad rude to describe the Breton language as foreign.

    On an international website, the chances are that there are many languages we don't collectively speak that are not "foreign".

    I don't mean to make a big deal of this, but as I said for those of us who live in non-English cultures, dismissing phrases in languages the majority don't speak as "foreign" is a bit insensitive.
    I agree, though I would add the pedantic note that rule is most often abused in Latin, which is not a native language anywhere anymore.
    I would also add that I didn't think this is so much a international website as a UK one that has international participants. So languages not spoken in the UK are, technically, foreign. Although, all but one of the 14 native languages of the UK would also require translation.
  • I wish I had enough Manx to post in that! (I used to be able to say the blessing in Manx; spelling it would be another matter. )
  • It is a difficult balance - of course there are many forms of technical English which are impenetrable to the average reader. I could probably write a grammatical post that nobody else here would understand without a dictionary, and possibly not even then.

    Also there are ideas in other languages which are sometimes borrowed in English but which have no sensible translation. In fairness I can't think of one in common usage just now..
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    I agree, though I would add the pedantic note that rule is most often abused in Latin, which is not a native language anywhere anymore.

    Some Latin phrases have certainly been absorbed into the English language, and so stand as English de facto, if not de jure. Different people seem to consider different amounts of Latin to have been absorbed into English.
  • RooKRooK Admin Emeritus
    The pedantry of this turn in conversation is needlessly fractal.

    Let's just agree that the intent for the "english only" rule is in the fundamental purpose of enabling conversation. A detailed examination of fringe aspects can be generally resolved by considering the degree to which any of them help to enable conversation. Stick to that, and we'll be fine.
  • Blahblah wrote: »
    I was mostly thinking of my compatriots where I live who by some accounts speak 50 different languages, including some which have been spoken by their ancestors here longer than English.

    50 languages is well impressive - I can speak one reasonably well and can get by in only one more.
  • The Rogue wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    I was mostly thinking of my compatriots where I live who by some accounts speak 50 different languages, including some which have been spoken by their ancestors here longer than English.

    50 languages is well impressive - I can speak one reasonably well and can get by in only one more.

    Compariots is plural. I was trying to express that I live with people who collectively speak 50 languages, not that anyone in particular is an extreme polyglot.
  • The Rogue wrote: »
    Blahblah wrote: »
    I was mostly thinking of my compatriots where I live who by some accounts speak 50 different languages, including some which have been spoken by their ancestors here longer than English.

    50 languages is well impressive - I can speak one reasonably well and can get by in only one more.
    I can be very clearly misunderstood in one, reasonably misunderstood in another and manage fractured misunderstanding in a couple more.

Sign In or Register to comment.