Off topic: The Facts of Life
Thread poster: RobinB
RobinB  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:50
German to English
Apr 30, 2004

Pruning out a whole bunch of old files from the late 1990s, I came across the following, which I think was probably first posted on FLEFO. I can't remember who posted it, so it has to fall under the "anon" category. Maybe the original poster would like to claim responsibility. The world is full of such platitudes, but I don't think that these ones have lost any relevance to the (translating) world today.

The Facts Of Life

1. The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
2. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
3. Money can't buy happiness. But it sure makes misery easier to live with.
4. Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.
5. Psychiatrists say that 1 in 4 translators is mentally ill. Check 3 colleagues. If they're OK, you're it.
6. Nothing in the known universe travels faster than a bad translation.
7. A truly wise man never plays leapfrog with a unicorn.
8. It has recently been discovered that research causes cancer in rats.
9. Always remember to pillage BEFORE you burn.
10. If you are given an open-dictionary test, you will forget your dictionary.
COROLLARY: If you are given a take-home test, you will forget where you live.
11. The trouble with doing translation right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.
12. It may be that your sole purpose in the translation business is simply to serve as a warning to others.
13.Paul's Law: You can't fall off the bottom of the pit.
14. The average woman would rather have beauty than brains, because the average man can see better than he can think.
15. Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
16. Vital papers will demonstrate their vitality by moving from where you left them to where you can't find them.
17. Law of Probability Dispersal: Whatever it is that hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

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Musab Hayatli
Local time: 12:50
English to Arabic
+ ...
Vielen Dank Apr 30, 2004

It certainly gave me a good laugh.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:50
German to English
Rules for Spotting Bad Translators Apr 30, 2004

I left out the rules regarding translator certification, but you can read about that topic as well at the site listed below.

Rules for Spotting Bad Translators:

1. Beware of "on the side syndrome". Never hire someone who tells you "I'm an engineer (or lawyer, CPA, teacher, etc.) and I do translations on the side. Do hire someone who tells you "I am a translator, and I also have a degree in engineering (law, accounting, etc.)

2. Beware of boasts of "native fluency". Thinking that being fluent in a language is sufficient qualification for translating is the same as believing that knowing how to hammer in a nail qualifies a person as a builder.

3. Beware of boasts of professional affiliations. Do not be misled by boasts of professional affiliation. The American Translators Association and other similar groups, although doing very valuable work in upgrading professional standards, are open to anyone who wishes to pay the membership fee, regardless of qualifications. In short, what does membership in the American Translators Association mean? It means that the person sent in a check and it cleared the bank. Period.

6. Beware of "jacks-of-all-trades". Translating requires not only language and writing proficiency, but also knowledge of the specific field, technology, and corporate culture. Translating is not the act of substituting one word for another, but the process of creating a parallel linguistic structure. This requires knowledge of current writings on the subject, in both languages. Someone who tries to do everything from videos to birth certificates is master of none.

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RobinB  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:50
German to English
Rules against rules Apr 30, 2004

may not be a bad thing, Kim, but remember Rule No. 9.

This is similar to another old rule:

"Don't burn your bridges before you cross them".


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:50
German to English
Good point Apr 30, 2004

And I didn't realize until after I had posted my contribution that your thread is under "the lighter side".

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mirta  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Excellent! May 1, 2004

I've had a good laugh too.

Have a nice weekend.

Mirta De Seta
English Spanish translator
Buenos Aires - Argentina
54 11 4 245 7087

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