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Sending unsolicited improvements to published texts as a marketing strategy
Thread poster: Chris S

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:04
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
What's silly about IKEA names? Sep 3

Chris S wrote:

I’ve always found dodgy menu translations add something to the dining experience, rather like IKEA’s silly product names.



They are carefully chosen and make sense if you understand Swedish.


Fiona Grace Peterson
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Heinrich Sep 3

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Chris S wrote:

I’ve always found dodgy menu translations add something to the dining experience, rather like IKEA’s silly product names.



They are carefully chosen and make sense if you understand Swedish.


Sadly I don’t know a word of Swedish, so I’ll have to take your word that calling a bookcase Onkel and a shelf Lack makes perfect sense.


writeaway
P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:04
Member
Italian to English
Tunny With Moth Sep 3

I was at a restaurant in northern Italy once, which had "farfalle con tonno" (bow-tie pasta with tuna) translated as "tunny with moth". When I pointed out to the owner that English speakers might not find the concept particularly inviting, he just laughed and shrugged his shoulders. For a lot of companies with badly translated copy, getting their texts translated is just another box they have to tick - they don't care about quality.

Dan Lucas
Rachel Waddington
writeaway
Michele Fauble
Tom in London
Teresa Borges
Jane F
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:04
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
The "good enough" factor Sep 3

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:
For a lot of companies with badly translated copy, getting their texts translated is just another box they have to tick - they don't care about quality.

Agreed. I would go as far as to argue that as with most things in life - accommodation, food, work - a Pareto-like principle applies. 80%, 90% or even 95% of people will be happy with something that they can persuade themselves is good enough. They're looking for a compromise that feels right to them, and only 20%, 10% or 5% that really care about having the best/doing the best job they can. As providers of a service, we should be looking for that latter group.

By analogy, there's little point trying to sell a BMW to somebody who's in the market for a old car. And there's even less point in complaining when the person in question puts out a sign saying "Secondhand car wanted - budget max $2000". You're not going to convince that person buy a BMW simply by prohibiting them from putting out a sign asking somebody to sell them a old banger.

I accept that some forum members have a problem with tatty old cars (low-quality translation work) being bought/sold in the same place (ProZ.com) as BMWs or Mercedes-Benz, but that seems like magical thinking to me. If you're shopping for a luxury car, you don't suddenly change your mind and buy a 15-year old secondhand vehicle just because you realise that the latter is less expensive. You're shopping for the luxury car in part precisely because it is expensive. The price is a proxy for a bundle of assumptions about quality and reliability.

Dan


Rachel Waddington
Michele Fauble
Fiona Grace Peterson
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Jorge Payan
 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:04
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
IKEA: Sep 3

Chris S wrote:

Sadly I don’t know a word of Swedish, so I’ll have to take your word that calling a bookcase Onkel and a shelf Lack makes perfect sense.


I´m still waiting for the day, when IKEA will name one of their products "Vikstraum" (probably a single-bed). Periodically, a Norwegian vessel called "Vikstraum" passes the Kiel Canal, which is then accompanied by many loud and dirty German laughter of the lock personal, which even can be heard in my flat some 800 m away, and leaving back the perplexed sailors without knowing, what´s so funny with their vessel.

[Bearbeitet am 2020-09-03 13:35 GMT]


Chris S
P.L.F.Persio
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
Gotten Sep 4

Don't get me wrong, Tom (but I feel confident you will anyway), I despise gotten too, but do you think they'll ever redub the exclamation "This is another fine mess you've gotten me into!"? Plus, Ollie ended it with a preposition. What an animal. Of course, British-born Stan would never have stooped so low.

P.L.F.Persio
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Resting on my laurels Sep 4

Mervyn Henderson wrote:
Don't get me wrong, Tom (but I feel confident you will anyway), I despise gotten too, but do you think they'll ever redub the exclamation "This is another fine mess you've gotten me into!"? Plus, Ollie ended it with a preposition. What an animal. Of course, British-born Stan would never have stooped so low.


In one of those amazing coincidences that make you wonder whether life isn’t completely preordained after all, or at least controlled by a droll deity who, if (s)he were a translator, would make a point of working the word “translate” into as many of (s)his translations as possible (much as I do, as it happens), I found myself wandering past none other than the “World Famous Laurel and Hardy Museum” earlier this evening (true story), clutching a bag of chips, a can of Coke and a face mask, on my way back to tonight’s digs here in Ulverston, which I now know to be the birthplace of Stan Laurel (real name Something Else, which maybe has some bearing on another recent thread here: it didn’t do him much harm).

So here I lie in my anonymous low-cost air-conditioned purple-accented Premier Inn cell (yeah, I know I could pay more and get a concierge, but I guess I’m just not a premium market kinda guy) overlooking the old cattle market (which reminds me of a recent discussion about hyphenation: is the market defunct or do they only sell old cows?) pondering (a) my lifelong indifference to slapstick comedy (I mean, wtf?) and (b) my inability to come up with anything either witty or weighty on the subject of Mr Laurel, or cows of any age, that would justify posting here at all. You could say that’s another fine mess I’ve gotten myself into....

Anyway, in the morning I’m off to the nearby (World Famous) Lake District. Not to be confused with Lakeland, Britain’s answer to IKEA’s downstairs bit (which you’d think they’d call Smörgåsbord but is doubtless something far less silly if you understand Swedish, like Ombudsman). In the meantime, I’m off on the good ship Vikstraum. Nighty night.

Perhaps I should just refer prospective clients to my ProZ forum posts?


Mervyn Henderson
P.L.F.Persio
 

Jane Martin  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:04
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
Yes... Sep 5

I wrote to a museum politely pointing out the low quality of their translations and offering to translate their texts for free. They replied, said they had a budget for translation and I ended up doing all their translations and then they recommended me to other museums in their group. So I would say go for it. It doesn't take long and might lead to lots of work.

Chris S
expressisverbis
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:04
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I hate having to think up a title every time I post in a forum Sep 5

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Don't get me wrong, Tom (but I feel confident you will anyway), I despise gotten too.

I don't despise it when used by Americans. I abhor its misuse in British English.


Mervyn Henderson
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Grate Britain Sep 5

Tom in London wrote:
I don't despise it when used by Americans. I abhor its misuse in British English.

I’m not liking it on regular weekdays. But surely it’s gotten OK to say it when meeting with folks on the weekend and at New Year’s?


Mervyn Henderson
 

expressisverbis
Portugal
Local time: 15:04
Member (2015)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
They may be carefully chosen, and make perfect sense in Swedish, but Sep 5

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

They are carefully chosen and make sense if you understand Swedish.


not carefully localised, and the sense is "lost" in other languages, for example, the name "BESTÅ" of a system of TV stands.
I don't know a word of Swedish, but "Besta" in European Portuguese means something really unpleasant: "asshole".
Localisation would be essential here.


Mervyn Henderson
Chris S
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
Laurel Sep 7

That's some coincidence! I chanced on Ulverston virtually before posting, because I was 99% sure Arthur Stanley Jefferson had been born in the UK, but there's always that 1%. Can you tell I'm a translator? The name change was for the best, too. "Jefferson and Hardy" just doesn't sound right.

 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:04
Member
Italian to English
Why for free? Sep 7

Jane Martin wrote:

I wrote to a museum politely pointing out the low quality of their translations and offering to translate their texts for free.


Why would you offer to do it for free?


Joe France
Sheila Wilson
Jorge Payan
 
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