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Off topic: What is the most stupid or silly thing you have ever come across proofreading someone else's work?
Thread poster: Els Spin

Els Spin  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:38
Dutch to English
+ ...
Feb 5, 2007

Hi all,

Some mistakes I'll never forget. Whether they were my own, or someone else's. But someone else's always seem much funnier!

I was just discussing this phenomenon with one of our colleagues, who sent me a small sample of a proofreading job he happens to be working on right now. The 260-page translation is so appalling, that it is actually hilarious.

I recently checked a drug information sheet, in which the translator suddenly went on about two components having an affair. It was a boring job until then. I found myself laughing out loud. That translator made my day!

So, do you have any such memories that really stand out?

I would love to hear...

Best wishes,
Els




[Edited at 2007-02-05 23:16]

[Edited at 2007-02-05 23:26]

[Edited at 2007-02-05 23:26]

[Edited at 2007-02-05 23:28]

[Edited at 2007-02-05 23:30]


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:38
Member
French to English
+ ...
Silly, stupid — and sometimes downright frightening! Feb 6, 2007

I once found in the in-flight magazine of a leading European airline the architectural term "chien assis" as a feature of a picturesque lock-keeper's cottage translated literally as "a dog sitting on the roof"!

I have also laughed at inappropriately "homely" words being used in formal technical registers, like someone who once suggested that access to a mobile military "cabin" was via a stool (instead of a set of steps)

More frightening have been the instances where the mistake was so stupid, it would actually have been dangerous! In one instance, electrical safety instructions were mis-translated in such a way that a "circuit breaker must be engaged before carrying out work on the equipment" (instead, clearly, of DISengaged!)

I also got hysterical when I found "Métiers de la bouche" translated as "Professionals of the mouth" — put quite the wrong connotation right in big letters on the client's homepage!


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Els Spin  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:38
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Indecent! Feb 6, 2007

Professionals of the mouth! Hilarious. Did this homepage have any mouth-watering pictures to underline the fact??
Ha, ha, ha!


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Emmanuelle Hingant  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:38
English to French
a player's name Feb 7, 2007

I got something really bad editing a job from German into French. It was for a Swiss magazine for the Football World Cup 2006 in Germany, talking about the World Cup history.

At some stage they talked about a player, saying "Prellbock Minelli". The translator left it as is, like Prellbock was the first name, Minelli the last name.
Well, "Prellbock" means defender in German. I thought it was quite bad even though it made me laugh a lot.

Emma


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Anne Patteet  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:38
English to French
+ ...
It was not my job to proofread or edit this, Feb 8, 2007

but I came across a translation made by a "Spanish/English Native Speaker" (SP mother, EN father) translating the expression "una cosa es con guitarra y otra es con violin", which means, literally (without denigrating any kind of instrument myself, it's just the expression): it's easier with a guitar than with a violin. So I'd translate it as "it's easier said than done", but I'm not sure, I don't really find an equivalent.
Anyway, I had the opportunity to read both the original and the translation, and the translator simply put it as "one thing is with a guitar and the other is with a fiddle". I found it very funny to find it translated word by word, as I have never heard this in English. But then, I'm not native in English (far from it too) and I am wondering, that person is native, he must know better than I do. Still, I don't find it anywhere in English (and haven't taken the time to ask around me here). So, does anyone know about this expression, or how would you translate it?

Thanks!


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:38
English to French
+ ...
Sampling in the field Feb 8, 2007

This sentence was part of a project on environmental sampling in the field. The person whose work I was proofing translated "sampling in the field" to "échantillonnage dans le champ" in French. The correct translation would have been "échantillonnage sur le terrain". What the translator used would mean more like confused sampling, as in French, at least in Quebec (where the client wanted to use the translation), "dans le champ" means confused, lost.

I guess the translator was confused about this one translation...


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:38
Member
English to Turkish
Anatole France Feb 9, 2007

It was a short biography of Anatole France, where the author was referred to with his last name through most of the text. Translator got confused about France the author and France, his country. So, in some places he translated the author's name as if it was the country. But not only that, he also introduced changes (or improvements, should I say?) to make the word 'France' make sense as the country's name. The text made a great reading, though, very elegant. Just that it gave me a hard time sorting out Frances

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Els Spin  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:38
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
This is fun! Feb 9, 2007

I am so glad I asked this question!

It is really fun to read all this! And it shows that proofreading IS worth our time and effort. Fortunately, we haven't lost our sense of humour - apparently even the worst job can put a smile on our face. How many people can say the same?

I love this job...

Have fun!
Els


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:38
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Some of my favourites Feb 10, 2007

Flying buttresses translated as butterflies

I got even with them Tr: I joined them

It is not loaded. (gun) Tr: They don't make ammunition for it.

Saved his stomach from the knife. Tr: Saved the knife from his stomach.

leg irons: splints/callipers

We are clearing this for rice paddies: We are making it suitable for growing husked rice.

You got a bad case of the shakes (he was shaking with fright): You got malaria.

Suit yourself! : It suits you.


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urst  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:38
German to Spanish
+ ...
TRIPS Feb 11, 2007

TRIPS (Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) and Farmers' Rights rendered into "The right of farmers to go on a vacation"...

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Leena vom Hofe  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:38
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
sometimes really dangerous! Feb 14, 2007

Hi everyone,

I once proofread a text about cosmetics and make-up from French to German. The translator apparently had never heard of make-up and all (although the PM assured me the work had been done by a female translator)...

She had translated everything literally "Hairline" was "Haargrenze" ("Hairborder"), "corner of the eye" was "Ecke der Augen" (where we have a wonderfull (and very common) word for this: "Augenwinkel"). She confused "Wangen" and "Backen" (told the reader to apply the blusher on to the "Backen" (which can have the meaning "cheeks" but ususally means "buttocks") And worst of all, she wrote that thanks to the natural ingredients in the kohl you could even use it "inside the eye"!!!

This is rather dangerous! I am thinking about a 13 year old girl, wanting to try mothers make-up... Ouch!

But you're right, this job was real fun!


[Edited at 2007-02-14 15:33]


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Carolin Haase  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:38
English to German
+ ...
Do something good to the machine... Feb 16, 2007

"Mantenimiento integral" became "Ganzheitliche Wartung" i. e. massaging/ayurveda/whirlpool/candlelight dinner for the machine...

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