Funny errors spotted whilst proofreading
Thread poster: Dave Bindon

Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 10:04
Member (2010)
Greek to English
Aug 16, 2011

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On the whole I don't enjoy 'proofreading' (using the standard meaning of the term within the translation industry). However, there have been a few occasions when the errors I've found have made the process worthwhile, just for comedy value.

In an Interpol 'Red Notice', the translator had written a list of people being 'persecuted by Interpol' (he/she meant 'sought': the Greek verb has several meanings, but the translator picked the wrong one).

This week, a new client asked me to proofread a short translation. One of the errors was that "Department of Employment" had been translated as "Department of Leisure"! The mistake is almost understandable, because the Greek word means 'occupation' (employment) but can also refer to 'what keeps you occupied in your free time' (leisure activity). Since I know and respect the translator I'm pretty sure this 'proofreading assignment' was actually just a test and the translator deliberately inserted that error to make me laugh.

Having been fully accepted onto the above-mentioned company's database, I was sent their Guidelines. In the final section about the duties and responsibilities of proofreaders, they have the following instruction:

"Always score the translation rather than any emissions – (Do notify us immediately if you notice emissions!)"

I will certainly notify them of emissions! And, yes, I did tell them about the error.


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Rebecca Davis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:04
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Err... Aug 16, 2011

Wouldn't that be "while" proofreading?

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Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 10:04
Member (2010)
Greek to English
TOPIC STARTER
while Aug 16, 2011

Muphry's Law! (and blame a bottle of wine!)

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Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 10:04
Member (2010)
Greek to English
TOPIC STARTER
Actually (re: while/whilst) Aug 16, 2011

Rebecca Davis wrote:

Wouldn't that be "while" proofreading?


I've just checked my 'bible', and it says that there is no firm difference between 'while' and 'whilst' in UK English.


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Rebecca Davis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:04
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
It's a tough one... Aug 16, 2011

I think you are right, in that both of them can be used interchangeably if you mean "whereas"; if you mean "when", then most style guides advise "while"...

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Dave Bindon  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 10:04
Member (2010)
Greek to English
TOPIC STARTER
It's after midnight... Aug 16, 2011

I'm sure you're right. I'll look at the guides in the morning when the effect of the wine has worn off.

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Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:04
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
Piratical fun Aug 16, 2011

Not proofreading in a translation context as such, but I was kept very amused by a student essay (of some length) on the subject of the notorious 'Matinée on the Bounty'.

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Stefan Blommaert  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:04
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Revision carried out? Aug 17, 2011

On a similar note: there are buses driving around here in London that make use of hybrid technology in order to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

At the back of the bus is a huge poster explaining that this bus is driven by a hybrid engine, to "reduce greenhouse commissions"....?????????...Did anybody read the text of this ad before it was actually published?....Or was the revision carried out by someone who had no knowledge whatsoever...Revision is not just rereading what was written, it is also assimilating the text and checking whether it makes sense or not....I guess, though, that there are people for whom anything makes sense...which, of course, simplifies life!


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