Getting Traction From Croissants

Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
A thread has been started in Purgatory with the title "Le Trahison des Croyants." Thus far, that phrase has not been given an English translation.

Isn't the Ship policy that expressions in foreign languages need translation?

Not all of us understand French.

Although personally I enjoy getting traction from my croissants, so I shouldn't complain.
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Comments

  • Given the number of punny thread titles we've had, I'm not sure this is so far out of line.

    It seems to be a play on the book "La Trahison des Clercs" by French philosopher Julien Benda. One might translate this as "the treason of the intellectuals", and I think there's a somewhat recent English reprint under that title.

    From wikipedia,
    This polemical essay argued that European intellectuals in the 19th and 20th century had often lost the ability to reason dispassionately about political and military matters, instead becoming apologists for crass nationalism, warmongering and racism.

    "Croyants" are believers.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Given the number of punny thread titles we've had, I'm not sure this is so far out of line.
    Puns are one thing. Posting in a language other than English without translating is, under the Ship’s rules, another.

    But the person who started that thread is new to the Ship, so it’s understandable. And given that the OP in that thread refers to the Church of England as “our national church,” I’m probably not in the target audience anyway.

  • Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Given the number of punny thread titles we've had, I'm not sure this is so far out of line.
    Puns are one thing. Posting in a language other than English without translating is, under the Ship’s rules, another.

    In that case, we must address the same censure to the "Et in spiritum" booze thread, surely? I assume most posters recognize the Nicene Creed in Latin, and the translation is sort of obvious, but ...

    The "In Vino Veritas" wine thread also comes without translation.

    A more reasonable complaint is the poster using the phrase "la trahison des clercs" in the body of his text without strict translation, although he explains in brief the idea.
  • Although personally I enjoy getting traction from my croissants, so I shouldn't complain.
    Me too!

  • I would argue that the drinks threads are parlance that most shipmates would understand. In Vino Veritas is definately a phrase used without translation in English contexts.

    So yes, they break the rules, and if ther ehad been comments, I would have expected a hostly addition or similar.

    The thread in question here - the phrase is not one well know in English (IMO). So hsould have been translated/contextualised. Also IMO.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited May 20
    The drinks threads have explanations in the titles.

    I think this one should have the same. I googled it was brought here so no illumination there either.

    I expected a translation in the first post. If the title isn’t edited then maybe the first post should be, to include the translation.

    We don’t have a ‘different rules for newbies’ policy.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Yes, I know that the poster of the OP is a relatively new Shipmate. I don't want to play junior host and let them know what the policy is re foreign expressions. If they happen to see this thread, perhaps they'll take the hint.

    Yes, I know I'm using "they" as a non-gender-specific singular pronoun, but that's a matter for a different thread.

    Meanwhile, since Latin is God's native tongue (or is it Hebrew?), I think we can assume that most Shipmates would be more or less familiar with common Latin expressions, especially those of a liturgical nature. But French is a different matter. Although this varies from culture to culture (and I suspect that more Brits, and certainly Canadians, would know French than would Americans -- Americans are more apt to know Spanish), still I for one would appreciate English translations being given whenever French expressions are used.

    Of course, we Latin teachers used to say that French is Latin -- misspelled, mispronounced, and ungrammatical. But I'm afraid it is too distant from Latin to be easily decodable. I think I would be more likely to understand a Romanian expression than one in French.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Hasn't the policy of exclusion of non-English usages outlived its rationale given the number of good online translation sites available?
  • SojournerSojourner Shipmate
    In that case you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Caissa wrote: »
    Hasn't the policy of exclusion of non-English usages outlived its rationale given the number of good online translation sites available?

    If the Ship’s rules change due to this fact then fine. I’ll pop off to a translation site when we get a title that requires it.

    Meanwhile, the rule is to furnish Shipmates with translations.

  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    I am not contesting the current rule; I am simply suggesting it is antediluvian.
  • Good luck with using online translators to cope with Vietnamese.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited May 20
    _
  • In this case, a translation of the thread title wouldn't be particularly helpful as it's a joke, a variation on the title of a book (the book happens to be in French). The joke probably works a lot better in French than would be the case for a translation to English. I like clever thread titles, but they do run the risk of failing to communicate the subject under discussion ... but a quick read of the OP does clarify that and you can decide whether to read further or comment then.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    I would argue that the drinks threads are parlance that most shipmates would understand. In Vino Veritas is definately a phrase used without translation in English contexts.

    So yes, they break the rules, and if ther ehad been comments, I would have expected a hostly addition or similar.
    Do they break the rules? I thought the rule is translate unless the word or phrase is commonly used in English contexts, which one could argue both In Vino Veritas and Et In Spiritum are, the latter being a play on a phrase used in English contexts.

  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    Caissa wrote: »
    I am not contesting the current rule; I am simply suggesting it is antediluvian.

    Effectively echoing what Alan said: getting Google Translate to handle a pun is not feasible.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    To send a helpless reader off to Google Translate because you would rather show off your superior knowledge of foreign expressions is, in a word, rude.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    To send a helpless reader off to Google Translate because you would rather show off your superior knowledge of foreign expressions is, in a word, rude.

    Yes, that too. The proposition that it's possible to get something translated, even if it were entirely true (which it isn't), doesn't mean that it's good etiquette to expect people to go and do so.
  • HedgehogHedgehog Shipmate
    orfeo wrote: »
    To send a helpless reader off to Google Translate because you would rather show off your superior knowledge of foreign expressions is, in a word, rude.

    Yes, that too. The proposition that it's possible to get something translated, even if it were entirely true (which it isn't), doesn't mean that it's good etiquette to expect people to go and do so.
    Agreed. It is perilously close to the case of a poster making an assertion of "fact" and, when challenged to provide support for the assertion, replying "Google it for yourself."
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    English the language of the colonizers. It's wonderful to see other languages referred to as "foreign".
  • Caissa wrote: »
    English the language of the colonizers. It's wonderful to see other languages referred to as "foreign".

    In this case, however, English is the language of this website. Were this a French language website, English would be une langue étrangère, surely?
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Yes. No need to be smug.

    Besides, on Star Trek, everyone spoke English regardless of which planet they were from -- and Earth hadn't colonized them all, let alone some English speaking country on Earth.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    edited May 20
    Caissa wrote: »
    English the language of the colonizers. It's wonderful to see other languages referred to as "foreign".

    If you would care to Google the various meanings of "foreign" in the dictionary, you would discover that "coming from another country" is not the only possible meaning...

    In other words, you're not only smug but also wrong.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Caissa wrote: »
    English the language of the colonizers. It's wonderful to see other languages referred to as "foreign".
    As if no other language had a similar usage.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    There are worse things to be than smug and wrong on a site of Christian Unrest. For a place that proclaims to value unrest, it is often reluctant to change and holds onto its assumptions
    with tenacity. Sort of like the ACC. ;^)
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    I would say the assumptions it holds onto, at least those relevant here, are those that facilitate discussion and clear communication, which is the purpose of the forum.


  • Meanwhile, since Latin is God's native tongue (or is it Hebrew?), I think we can assume that most Shipmates would be more or less familiar with common Latin expressions, especially those of a liturgical nature.

    I'm not so sure. Maybe I'm younger than most on the ship but I was never taught Latin and I've only picked up bits and pieces by osmosis and an amateur curiosity about etymology. Even the liturgical Latin I know is limited largely to titles, ("Te Deum", "Gloria", "Pater Nostra", "Ave Maria" etc.).
  • HeavenlyannieHeavenlyannie Shipmate
    edited May 21
    I'm in my 50s and I was not taught Latin and don't attend a church that uses a Latin liturgy. My Latin is limited to common everyday phrases and medical Latin.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    I think the Ship should use discretion over the use of phrases from languages other than English. Rather than a total ban on the use of other languages a rule like this might help. " The language of the Ship is English. Please use phrases from other languages sparingly and be prepared to provide an explanation in English, if requested."
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Caissa wrote: »
    I think the Ship should use discretion over the use of phrases from languages other than English. Rather than a total ban on the use of other languages a rule like this might help. " The language of the Ship is English. Please use phrases from other languages sparingly and be prepared to provide an explanation in English, if requested."
    There’s not a total ban on the use of other languages. The only difference between the current rule and what you suggest is that under the current rule a translation/explanation should be provided even if not requested.

  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    edited May 21
    Caissa wrote: »
    There are worse things to be than smug and wrong on a site of Christian Unrest. For a place that proclaims to value unrest, it is often reluctant to change and holds onto its assumptions
    with tenacity. Sort of like the ACC. ;^)

    "Unrest" does not consist of changing things just for the hell of it without consideration of the merits. And they're not "assumptions" if they're examined.

    As noted, you haven't even accurately expressed what the current rule is - there is no ban on other languages. I would argue that it's difficult to argue for a change in a rule if you don't really understand what you're changing from.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    A very good point, Orfeo. I just looked at the 10 Commandments and FAQs and could not see any explanation about language use. Can someone point me to where it is written or is simply part of an unwritten constitutional tradition?
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Likewise, I also looked at the 10 Commandments and FAQs and don't see anything about providing translations for foreign expressions. I believe, as you say, that it is part of the unwritten tradition of the Ship. Certainly it is courteous and thoughtful.

    Anyone who has studied writing can tell you that it is never wrong to assume that your audience has no idea of what you are talking about.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Yes, but at the same time, if it’s a rule we expect to be followed, and a rule we expect new shipmates to be aware of, it should be clearly stated somewhere, the 10 Commandments being the obvious place.

  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Agreed, but I see nothing that says foreign expressions are not permitted. One might think this would be codified given the reaction that happens often when it occurs.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited May 21
    Agreed.

    But again, the (apparently unwritten) rule is not that foreign expressions “are not permitted.” Foreign expressions are permitted.

    The unwritten rule is that if foreign phrases or expressions are used, a translation or explanation should be provided unless the phrase or expression has gained common use in English.

  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Auf wiedersehen, Mein Herr.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T10A3e-CdD0
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    Caissa wrote: »
    Agreed, but I see nothing that says foreign expressions are not permitted.

    Because they are.

    What hasn't been explained to me during all this is why anyone actually wants to use foreign expressions, beyond a really obvious case like the thread about learning languages on Duolingo.

    If your purpose on an English-language message board is to actually communicate with anyone else, using an untranslated expression from another language (not one that has become recognised in English) soundly defeats that purpose. It's a deliberate exercise in obfuscation, quite probably coupled with an element of showing off.

    The only other circumstance, besides talking about learning languages, where I can think of any warrant for reaching into another language is if you feel that it's one of those cases where English has no direct equivalent. But unless it's one of those terms that English has generally adopted (precisely because English didn't have an equivalent), you are still going to have to come with a rough English approximation to convey to anyone else what you're talking about.

    That is, unless you want to adopt this course of telling people to go and find their own translation, which suggests either you don't actually know what the phrase means well enough to explain it, or that you can't actually be bothered communicating with people and were more interested in the showing off part.

    The whole notion strikes me as no less rude than the stuff that's currently been talked about regarding people's names or pronouns.

    Or any number of other situations where communication involves taking the needs of your audience into account. When I talk on the Ship about legal matters or legislative drafting, I don't talk about it in exactly the same way that I talk to other legislative drafters. I don't expect people here to know all the jargon that we use with each other. How would people feel if I just told them to give themselves a course in legislative drafting via the internet? After all, I know my office publishes material, and I'm fairly sure other offices do as well.

    Before you say that's different to the availability of translations, I would argue that it's not. If people don't have their own knowledge of a language, they have no ready means of ascertaining whether a translation that they get is accurate. I'm now aware of the errors in common translation tools between Danish and English precisely because I now know some Danish. If I threw some Danish at you and you don't speak the language at all, you would have no option beyond taking whatever Google Translate etc. spat out at you, coming back to my post and seeing whether the English version could be inserted and achieve a reasonably grammatical result.

    What the hell is the benefit of expecting every reader to go through that task, instead of me, the Danish speaker, doing it once?

    Why should a legislative drafter expect every non-legislative drafter to go and spend God knows how long learning the concepts of legislative drafting, when the drafter can use their existing knowledge to do the work of converting the ideas into something that a wider group of people can understand?

    Telling your audience to go do the work that you can't be arsed to do is not just rude, it's inefficient. The person who wants to use a foreign phrase should, presumably actually knowing what the foreign phrase means, do the work of translating it ONCE.

  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Luckily, I have a native Danish speaker two offices down. ;^))

    My point, and it seems to be getting lost, is that when people on occasion use a phrase from another language other than English that a reader may not know, it is more expedient to ask them what it means rather than opening a thread in Styx. Maybe even before that one might attempt a translating engine to see if it gives what appears to be a decent translation.

    I don't believe an untranslated non-English phrase requires a Styx thread.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    edited May 21
    Caissa wrote: »
    Luckily, I have a native Danish speaker two offices down. ;^))

    My point, and it seems to be getting lost, is that when people on occasion use a phrase from another language other than English that a reader may not know, it is more expedient to ask them what it means rather than opening a thread in Styx. Maybe even before that one might attempt a translating engine to see if it gives what appears to be a decent translation.

    I don't believe an untranslated non-English phrase requires a Styx thread.

    If that's your point, this is the first time you've made it. Do we now have to discuss what Styx is for? Because it's pretty much for raising questions about Ship policies. If there was a problem with creating a Styx thread, that would have been a matter for a Host to raise, so basically you're junior-hosting.

    If you didn't think this thread was worthwhile, you didn't have to post on it.

    And has already been pointed out, for this particular example A TRANSLATING ENGINE WOULDN'T WORK. It can't explain the supposed pun.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Did I say this thread should not be open? Please read what I wrote without embellishment.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Caissa, there is a one hundred and twelve page thread on the differences and ambiguities in the English language alone. Multiply that by all the other dialects on earth, and it seems like communication would become that much more difficult.

    Your faith in the hosts and admins to moderate such a global Pentecost is admirable, but possibly misplaced.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    Caissa wrote: »
    Did I say this thread should not be open? Please read what I wrote without embellishment.

    I did read it. I watched you change from saying people should go use translation to saying people should go ask the author.

    And you still haven’t provided any explanation as to what value there is in using foreign phrases. You just keep saying that other people aren’t responding the way you think they should respond. To which everyone else’s point is: people shouldn’t have to respond because there is no good reason for it to happen in the first place.

    Now go ask your Danish colleague about their legislative drafting skills. Maybe they’ll come in handy.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    edited May 21
    Value of non-English (rather than foreign ) expressions is that other languages sometimes catch a concept better than its literal English translation. They have a certain je ne sais quoi.
    P.S. I will talk to my lawyer friend who has worked on drafting legislation.
    P.P.S. We all have areas of expertise in which we avoid using the jargon common in our discourse community.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    I have already covered that case and pointed out that if it’s not a phrase English has adopted, the concept won’t be communicated anyway.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    orfeo wrote: »
    I have already covered that case and pointed out that if it’s not a phrase English has adopted, the concept won’t be communicated anyway.
    Not necessarily. Few would deny that Schadenfreude* is a useful German word that conveys an idea not succinctly conveyed in English, and as a result it has been used by English speakers and has worked its way into English. But there was certainly a time when it wasn’t widely known in English, and it’s arguable whether it has become widely enough known now that it can be assumed that the average speaker of English knows what it means. Its adoption into English began with a whole lot of “The Germans have a great word for that feeling.” The word has been adopted into English because the concept was conveyed.

    It’s not difficult at all for me to imagine many similar examples of words or phrases that express something not as easily or succinctly expressed in English and that haven’t yet been encountered by many English speakers. We have shipmates all over the world who are fluent in or at least familiar with a wide variety of languages. Introducing others to those words and phrases is both reasonable and consistent with the history of the English language, but it does involve making sure others understand their meaning.


    * Literally “harm-joy,” but generally defined as “pleasure or enjoyment derived from the misfortune or troubles of others.”

  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited May 21
    orfeo wrote: »
    What hasn't been explained to me during all this is why anyone actually wants to use foreign expressions, beyond a really obvious case like the thread about learning languages on Duolingo.


    In this case, the expression was a pun in the thread title. The poster's actual post was quite long, in English, set out the point they wished to make, and has attracted a fair amount of discussion.

    But I wouldn't have said that it was any more obscure than calling a post "Come on Arlene" - a pun that requires you to be familiar with the soon-to-be-ex-leader of the DUP and the work of Dexys Midnight Runners, or "What if Chicxulub had missed?", which requires you to be familiar with the name given to a particular meteor. And that's not including any of the threads where the title is supremely vague. "Incoherence", for example, could be about almost anything.

    The title of this very thread, if not presented alongside the title of the thread that provoked it, is rather inscrutable.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Slightly related . . . there was a time when Volkswagen ads featured the German word Fahrvergnügen without translation. Call me helplessly behind the times, but I took offense. History has not yet forgotten a time when people were subject to abuse by authoritarian figures hurling German words at them.
  • Audi ads featured the (untranslated) tagline "Vorsprung durch Technik" (something like "getting ahead through technology") throughout my childhood memory. It became one of the most memorable advertising catchphrases in the UK, and was referenced on "Only Fools and Horses", amongst others. Most Brits do not speak German.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Some might argue that it was the novelty and curiosity about the word Fahrvergnügen that made those ads effective and memorable—memorable enough that we remember it 3 decades later.

    But in any event, at least one of those ads did provide the meaning, and my memory is that most of the earlier ones did. It was the later ones that relied on viewers already knowing the word from earlier ads.

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