Mobile menu

Off topic: Horrible, long sentences that make you want to scream
Thread poster: Krzysztof Łesyk
Krzysztof Łesyk  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
Dec 26, 2007

I don't know about you, but I seem to stumble upon a couple of monster sentences from hell in almost every document I get to translate. You might know what I'm talking about - those run-on abominations so common in contracts or technical writing. The ones that can take hours to properly translate, and even after all this time you're not completely sure whether you did it right...

I like to save those unholy sentences together with my translations and look at them from time to time to pat my back and remind myself that I'm awesome, because I managed to translate them after all (hey, little self-gratification never killed anyone, right?).

I'm close to finishing a long and grueling project full of such "gems" and it gave me an idea - how about we share some hellishly difficult sentences we had to translate, just for the fun of it? It's like a game - a person posts a sentence in either Japanese or English (with or without translation - sometimes you can't really publish your work due to agreements with the client and so on) and we all go "oh boy, that one's TOUGH!" Pointless? Sure, but it might be fun (and educational, if we post the translations).

Let me start with this rare beauty - maybe not horribly complicated, but the sheer amount of nouns in it made me a bit queasy when I first saw it. Translating it to Japanese was painful, let me tell you. I will post my translation too - I'm by no means an experienced translator yet (not for a loooong time), but I think I got it more or less accurately (perhaps leaning a bit towards "less")

Well, without further ado, here goes nothing:

"Subcontractor, having carefully examined the Contract Documents, including a visit to the site in order to familiarize himself with all conditions that may affect the work, and being satisfied that they fully understand them, agrees to provide all labor, materials, tools, construction supplies, construction equipment, plant, any Subcontractor required temporary access/platforms, temporary weather protection for Subcontractor's operations, facilities, services, safety, insurance, and to pay all taxes, permit costs, fees, and other costs necessary or required in the Contract Documents or by applicable local codes, to accomplish in a safe, timely, and workmanlike manner the work shown in the Contract Documents, Technical Specifications herein and the drawings referenced in Table XXXX."

And what I made of it:


Your turn

Direct link Reply with quote

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:05
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Lol yes I know what you mean. Dec 26, 2007

I think we all have seen these, and they are particularly prevalent in patents. I hate those sentences that go on for half a page in one sentence describing the mechanisms and parts of the device.

Direct link Reply with quote

michiko tsumura  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:05
Member (2006)
English to Japanese
Business contracts are bad as well Jan 1, 2008

This is one of the first contracts I have translated. I actually had to ask the instructor from my translation course to help me with this one.

Here it is.

"Storage Capacity Under Management" is defined as the following:
(A) the sum of: 1) the total cumulative amount of formatted storage capacity (in terabytes (TB)) managed by the Software (where "managed" means that the Software collects any data or meta-data with respect to any file stored on such capacity) and 2) the total amount of formatted storage capacity (in terabytes (TB)) on all volumes (or other forms of organizing formatted storage capacity, if such storage capacity is not organized in volumes) selected and subsequently used by a user of the Software as Target Volumes for any policy actions (including, but not limited to move, copy, or migrate actions) of the Software as such storage capacities are reported on Annual Reports generated using the Software by following the instructions given in the ABC Reporting Requirements Document, and, in the event and to the extent that, in ABC's reasonable opinion, such Annual Reports do not report with reasonable accuracy the storage capacity as described above in this subparagraph (A), due to issues involving new technologies or storage devices not anticipated by the current version of the Software, such other reports reasonably requested by ABC generated by other ABC-approved methods provided by ABC or Licensee, and/or
(B) any line(s) of any alternative report reasonably requested and specified by ABC, that is part of the Software or that is a separate utility provided by ABC, or that is generated by any other ABC-approved method provided by ABC or Licensee, provided that such line(s) of such report calculate(s) the same number of terabytes that would be calculated by the Annual Reports described in subparagraph (A) above (any such report, an "Alternate Report").

(A) 以下1)および2)の総計:1)本ソフトウェアが管理するフォーマット済みのストレージ容量(テラバイト[TB])の累積合計(「管理する」とは、当該容量上に記憶された全てのファイルのデータ又はメタデータを本ソフトウェアが収集することを意味します)、および 2) 本ソフトウェアのあらゆるポリシーアクション(アクションの移動、複製又は移行を含むがこれらに限定されません)の為に 本ソフトウェア使用者が ターゲットボリュームとして 選択し、後に使用する全てのボリューム(又は、ストレージ容量がボリューム単位で編成されていない場合には、フォーマット済みのストレージ容量を他の形態で編成した場合の容量総計)におけるフォーマット済みのストレージ容量(テラバイト[TB])の総計。尚、かかるストレージ容量は、ABC報告義務書(Reporting Requirements Document)の指示に従って本ソフトウェアを使用の上作成される年次報告書において報告されます。また本ソフトウェアの現バージョンが予想していない新技術又は新記憶装置に関わる問題が原因で、上記(A)に説明されたストレージ容量を当該年次報告書が妥当に正確に報告していないと、ABCが合理的に考え、また同社がかかる見解を有する限り、ABC又はライセンシーが提供しABCが認めた他の方法で作成した、ABCが合理的に要請したかかる他の報告書により、および/又は
(B) ABCが合理的に要請し具体的に指定した全ての代替的報告書の全ての行で、本ソフトウェアの一部であるか、又はABCが提供した別個のユティリティであるか、もしくはABCまたはライセンシーが提供しABCが承認した他の方法により生成されたものにおいて報告されます。但し、かかる報告書の当該行は、上記副段落(A)において説明された年次報告書によって計算されるであろうものと同数のテラバイトを計算することを条件とします。

Direct link Reply with quote
Krzysztof Łesyk  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
WOW Jan 6, 2008

Wow, now THAT'S a tough one. Yikes, I'm not afraid to say - I wouldn't be able to properly translate this one. *Sigh* - that just shows how much more I have to learn... Then again, I'm having fun along the way, so it's all good

Anyway, I'll try to find my old notes with more "nice" sentences sometime this week - I remember one about reinforced concrete that I wasted the better part of the day on... (yes, I know, you're not supposed to end a sentence with a preposition)

Direct link Reply with quote
Krzysztof Łesyk  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:05
Japanese to English
+ ...
Too bad... Jan 14, 2008

I've searched far and wide, but I can't find that sentence about the reinforced concrete I mentioned in the previous post - too bad, for it was a rare beauty...

Direct link Reply with quote

Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:05
Japanese to English
Writer loses the thread Nov 25, 2008

The really beautiful examples are where the writer clearly loses the thread of their thought in mid-sentence, but plunges on regardless, creating a stunning non-sequitur that will not bring any credit to the reputation of the translator.

Direct link Reply with quote

To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Takeshi MIYAHARA[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Horrible, long sentences that make you want to scream

Advanced search

The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info » PDF Translation
Fast and Reliable PDF Translation - reduce your workload while maintaining quality

Unlock the potential of PDFs, taking your original PDF, replacing the text with your translations from your preferred tools and in minutes, get a high quality, ready-to-use, translated PDF. Try it now - your first 50 pages are free.

More info »

All of
  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs