Monday, 20 April 2009

Debilitating weekend...

...that unexpectedly prolonged on Monday afternoon. After a squabble in the language school (leave it out for now) my ex-teacher called me up just to let me know there was an urgent translation to be done within the weekend. BTW, the foundation which commissioned those translations is the most disorganised institution I’ve ever had the doubtful pleasure to deal with, they even beat off Warsaw School of Economics! The task set me up for the whole weekend, leaving my head spinning and my mind gone blank. I would truly take pleasure in translating challenging text, but the commission I faced was rather bewildering. Some of the PL->EN translations went quite smoothly as they were written in clear and comprehensible Polish, but in some the authors showed off with their ingeniousness conjuring up totally new words, phrase or just writing collocations which didn’t make any sense. The EN->PL pieces, outwardly those simple ones gave me a really hard time. I found it hard to catch on them, as I’m Slav so I could recognise the false friends excessively used by the creators, but sentences made up of simple words but put together without any sense were sometimes beyond my capacity.

Some examples:
Stage – staż
Complex – kompleksowy
Concrete – konkretny
Physical person – literal once again…
Relay on – rely on (repeatedly!)
It remembered a few more but they slipped my mind...

Maybe I’m not entitled to criticise… My English is not perfect, not everybody (including me, in my perception) is linguistically gifted, but shouldn’t those organisations have their original texts translated by a professional instead of producing their own translations in broken English. Lack of knowledge of the language is not a reason to be ashamed, but writing incomprehensible texts confusing the translators give an evidence of ignorance. I know English has become a Latin of twenty-first century, almost everybody speaks it, but must it be so simplified and spoiled?
Hopefully translations are not going to be my future occupation, it’s monotonous, repetitive job, however one has to stress – remunerative…

My father says: “If you put the shit in, you’ll put the shit out”. It’s about computers but the rule applies to translations as well…

The word in a title which sounds funnily and means “physically exhausting”, although the whole tasks has rather worn me down mentally. I came across it when I was trying to find the English equivalent of Polish splendid word “odmóżdżający”. Does anybody better in English than me has any idea of English equivalent?

PS. Micheal – thanks for the free advertising of my blog (btw who actually bumped into whom? :-)). As I supposed (by getting into muddle when telling that) I misled you by saying about the view count statistics, these ones I found once in my webmaster tools stand for google worms, I couldn’t find that utility, screen of which you had put on your blog on my dashboard – where can it be found?

4 comments:

Michael Dembinski said...

Wearing his trademark baseball cap and aviator shades as attributes makes Jeziorki's most famous blogger easier to recognise :-) (Language note: Bumping into someone does not necessarily require a bumper and bumpee)

To get your Google Analytic results, you need to sign in (www.google.com/analytics) and install tracking code (which they'll email to you) onto your blog.

Translators - not enough natives around!

Bartek Usniacki said...
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pinolona said...

I went to translator school and the avoidance of GIGO ('garbage in, garbage out') was an integral part of our education...

You're right, 'debilitating' is more physical, although I guess you could say 'mentally debilitating/exhausting'. Maybe 'mind-numbing' (although it's normally associated with boredom, not tiredness)? I'd probably say I was totally brain-dead (or zombiefied - not correct English at all) after a particularly taxing day.
I'm not sure I know a non-colloquial version :)

Bartek Usniacki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.