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Native Speaker???

31 replies    
Comment
Hi all,
brauche 'mal Euren Rat. - Unsere Marketing-Abteilung hat eine Übersetzung in Auftrag gegeben, die angeblich von einem Native Speaker angefertigt wurde. Da ich Übersetzer & Dolmetscher bin, hat man mir das Ergebnis gezeigt & mich gebeten, es mir "'mal kurz anzuschauen". Was haltet Ihr von nachfolgenden Sätzen?

1) Our friendly system consultants are happy to set themselves this task everyday anew.
2) After detailed consultation, our sales team will be pleased to let you know which device in which configuration is optimum for you with respect to productivity and cost.
3) Our telephone hotline is at your deposal (- stand da wirklich so...) at any time for technical problems under Tel...
4) And the added beauty is that every single device can be configured according to your individual requirements.
5) By means of a larger reader angle, you are always right in the picture.

Das Übersetzungsbüro behauptet immer noch, daß es ein Native Speaker war - allerdings denke ich, daß dessen Muttersprache sicher nicht englisch ist. - Was haltet Ihr davon?

Freue mich auf Eure Einschätzung!
AuthorMichel26 May 03, 09:39
Comment
I'm sure your assumption is correct. It doesn't sound like a native-speaker has made the translation.

I'd suggest...

1) Our system consultants are happy to set themselves this task everyday (some words chopped out - when would a consultant never be friendly???).

2) (Sounds OK).

3) Our SERVICE hotline is available at any time (24x7x365? - in Germany? - really????? ;-)- better to state days and hours) for technical problems. Tel.: 123456

4) (Is this a complete sentence? Maybe better as..) An added BENEFIT is that every single device can be configured according to your individual requirements.

5) By USING a larger reader angle, you are always right in the picture.


The language used definitely makes it sound like a sales brochure.
#1AuthorBandit26 May 03, 11:03
Comment
Sorry to disappoint you: it does sounds like a native speaker. But it doesn't sound like one who is also a good translator.

Don't like "anew", it's so old-fashioned.
Incorrect English: "everyday", "deposal", "under Tel."
"By means of a..." totally bad style, i.e. incorrect
#2AuthorGhol ‹GB›26 May 03, 11:08
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I'm sure your assumption is correct. It doesn't sound like a native-speaker has made the translation.

I'd suggest...

1) Our system consultants are happy to set themselves this task everyday (some words chopped out - when would a consultant never be friendly???).

2) (Sounds OK).

3) Our SERVICE hotline is available at any time (24x7x365? - in Germany? - really????? ;-)- better to state days and hours) for technical problems. Tel.: 123456

4) (Is this a complete sentence? Maybe better as..) An added BENEFIT is that every single device can be configured according to your individual requirements.

5) By USING a larger reader angle, you are always right in the picture.


The language used definitely makes it sound like a sales brochure.
#3AuthorBandit26 May 03, 11:08
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I agree with Ghol...the language used _would_ work, but it's not done very well at all. In fact, it's pretty crappy. Kind of like some of my first translations where I tried to do it almost word-for-word. You may have just gotten a translator who had recently been hired and hasn't really learned the ropes of translation yet. In any case, if I were giving out money for a translation of this sort, I would be sorely peeved.
#4AuthorMike26 May 03, 11:27
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Thanks a lot for your feedback. When I read the translation I really got the impression that it is not well-done. - And it made me angry to pay so much money for it and to have to correct the whole thing afterwards. But as I am no native speaker I am always keen to learn whether my "feeling" is right or wrong.
#5AuthorMichel26 May 03, 11:33
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To Mike:
Our comments just crossed each other ;-)
#6AuthorMichel26 May 03, 11:37
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Agree with Ghol. Being a native speaker does not guarantee translation capabilities nor does being a bilingual speaker mean that someone can do translations. A common misconception.
#7AuthorRES-can26 May 03, 11:42
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@Michel: so is your marketing department now looking for a new translator? Just wondered ;-)
#8AuthorGhol ‹GB›26 May 03, 11:49
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@Ghol: Is "by means of" generally bad style or only in this context? Leo translates it as "anhand von", "durch", "vermittels". I use it sometimes myself, and I would like to know whether anything is wrong with it.
#9AuthorKlaus H.26 May 03, 12:00
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Hi Ghol,
I very much hope they do!! - 'cause I am in sales and if I have to do translations or corrections, I won't make my numbers... :-( - Are you interested? ;-)
#10AuthorMichel26 May 03, 12:04
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First of all, I agree with Ghol and Res - native speaker rarely equals translator, and it looks to me like a bad, native-speaker translation.
@Michel. Secondly: Ghol is first in the queue naturally, but if he doesn't have time, I would be interested...:-)
#11AuthorKevin26 May 03, 12:58
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Are you very sure this is by a native speaker?

For me, the following suggest a German brain at work. ;-)

1. ... deposal

2. ... under Tel...

3. By means of...

4. ... detailed consultation...


It would be interesting to find out!!!!!
#12AuthorBandit26 May 03, 13:36
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Hi Bandit et al,

This is what I thought... - "and the beauty is" sounded to me like "this is not the yellow of the egg" ;-)

Am I wrong? Is it a commonly used expression? - I never ran across it before -
#13AuthorMichel26 May 03, 13:58
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It is a commonly used expression and it would be used in advertising but (to my ears) it makes it sound like you're a quack doctor trying to sell some miracle cure.
My suggestion would be to change the sentence slightly.
#14AuthorBandit26 May 03, 14:09
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*räusper* -- isn't there an incy wincy possibility it sounds German because because it is based on a German text and hasn't been anglicised enough?
i.e. "under Tel." comes from "unter Tel."/"at your disposal" from "zur Verfügung" etc.

@Klaus H.: no, "by means of" is fine, it's just used badly here

@Kevin: I'm not desperate for more work. Feel free to offer your services!
#15AuthorGhol ‹GB›26 May 03, 14:19
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@Ghol

Exactly!! I find it extremely difficult to believe that a native speaker, translating from a German text, would let those things past; even (only) a half-decent translator. A native German speaker is more likely to miss those subtleties and so they remain in the text.
#16AuthorBandit26 May 03, 14:24
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Hi,
We already rewrote the sentences - I was just looking for some competent opinions on what was provided ;-)
#17AuthorMichel26 May 03, 14:26
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@Michel

I don't know, if you can REALLY find out whether it was done by a native speaker or not. Since your payment was for a native speaker, they are hardly likely to admit it wasn't done by one. But if you could find out.... the suspense is killing us! ;-)
#18AuthorBandit26 May 03, 14:28
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Hi Bandit,
I'll keep you posted ;-)

Hi all,
Thanks a lot for your input - it was good to learn that I was not completely wrong thinking that it was not a brilliant translation.
#19AuthorMichel26 May 03, 14:35
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@bandit: I reckon that the mistakes are all ones that an English person could easily make, especially if he has been in Germany for a long time (apart from "deposal"). "under" for tel. nos. sounds logical after a while, believe me! So it has a slightly English feel to it inspite of the mistakes.
But "added beauty" clinched it for me -- I can't think of a German term that that would have been translated from: sounds too English.
#20AuthorGhol ‹GB›26 May 03, 15:46
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@Ghol, what about "und das Schöne ist"?
#21AuthorMichel26 May 03, 15:51
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@Michel: aha, so that was it!
But "added beauty" is perfect English, and fairly unusual. That German thinker would more likely have written "the beautiful thing about it is that..."
#22AuthorGhol ‹GB›26 May 03, 17:34
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I still agree with Ghol. Bandit, I have seen dozens of examples like this from natives. I have even seen examples from the Diploma in Translation from the Institute of Linguists, which is meant to be a post-graduate qualification and can only be taken translating into your native language. It is simply amazing what native speakers will do with a dictionary and a foreign-language text! That said, I am sure we have all done something stupid like this, although hopefully not as consistently ;-) especially those of us who have been away from the home country for some years.
#23AuthorKevin26 May 03, 19:26
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@Kevin: agree -- and don't tell my customers, but I still catch myself writing sentences that are remarkably similar to the above :-(
Worse still is when I don't catch myself doing it...
#24AuthorGhol ‹GB›26 May 03, 20:39
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@ Kevin, Ghol: I see it the same way. The better my German gets, the longer I'm here, the shakier my English is in certain unconcentrated moments. Seufz ...
#25AuthorNancy26 May 03, 20:46
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@Ghol. We can cry into our beers on Saturday ;-). It is probably an unsolveable problem. After all, you need to be good in the source language to do a good translation, but for most mortals that means spending lots of time in the source country, with a commensurate lack of certainty arising in your own language over time. I'd still rather be here though!
#26AuthorKevin27 May 03, 10:29
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Hi all,
Last question from rookie Michel - Is it ok to summarise as follows:
The translation might have been done by a native speaker but in poor quality?

Thank you so much for all your help & I am sure that I will be back here (just reading ;-)) to learn more from you!

P.S.: Forgot to mention one point - they translated heart & sole (instead of heart & soul)... But this won't change your conclusion, won't it? ;-)
#27AuthorMichel27 May 03, 10:56
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no, I'd say that confirms it
#28AuthorGhol ‹GB›27 May 03, 11:13
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@Ghol

What????? You cannot be serious (in the immortal words of John McEnroe). What kind of native speaker would make a howler like that (sole=soul)?

One the other hand, maybe you're right... a recently graduated native speaker educated in the British school system would do that....
#29AuthorBandit27 May 03, 12:28
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Have to agree with Ghol. From experience, even if a German translator has difficulties writing idiomatic English, spelling is usually less of a problem. Writing "sole" instead of "soul" is the sort of mistake I'd expect an English native speaker to make (just like mixing up their/there/they're) -- there are plenty of people in England who can't spell for toffee. I'd even go as far as to say that people learning English as a second language are better at spelling than the majority of Brits (excuse me if this sounds haughty and arrogant).
#30AuthorDoris L27 May 03, 12:55
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No Doris, not arrogant, just accurate.
By the way Michel, the "heart and sole" might just be okay depending on context--at least if they spotted it on the same menu I saw, right under the "cod and kidneys". There's just no accounting for taste, is there? (Might've been at the Frog and Peach, but who knows?)
#31AuthorPeter <us>29 May 03, 05:35
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