Off topic: Those little words....
Thread poster: sylver

sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:22
English to French
Aug 20, 2004

news.com.com/How%20eight%20pixels%20cost%20Microsoft%20millions/2100-1014_3-5316664.html?tag=nefd.top

In a very recent article, Microsoft relates some of their cultural blunders, including the following translation mishap:

"Microsoft has also managed to upset women and entire countries. A Spanish-language version of Windows XP, destined for Latin American markets, asked users to select their gender between "not specified," "male" or "bitch," because of an unfortunate error in translation".

Male, Unspecified, or Bitch. Take your pick.


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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 06:22
French to English
+ ...
machine translation? Aug 20, 2004

Thanks for that, Sylver.

Do you think a human came up with that gem?

The future of translation.....


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espurna
Spain
Local time: 14:22
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, humans can do it Aug 20, 2004

Do you have the "disguising" spanish version? It is something that uses to happen with different regional Spanish. I assume that the option was "mujer" or "hembra". For most Spanish speakers, this is just "woman" or "female". But in some countries, they can mean ALSO "bitch".

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Check the box: H or M Aug 20, 2004

I don't mind translating it (M/F), but I hate filling it up on official forms. You always have to double-take about whether they mean "hombre/hembra" and "mujer/macho".

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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:22
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
oh well Aug 20, 2004

espurna wrote:

Do you have the "disguising" spanish version? It is something that uses to happen with different regional Spanish. I assume that the option was "mujer" or "hembra". For most Spanish speakers, this is just "woman" or "female". But in some countries, they can mean ALSO "bitch".


I am glad to hear it's not as bad as it sounded in the article. To answer your question, no, I don't know what the translation was. I just read the article and thought some would find it interesting.

But it's quite a tricky issue nevertheless, if a significant portion of the readers can feel insulted by what is common form for the rest of the folks.


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Javier Herrera
Spanish
Interesting Aug 20, 2004

espurna wrote:

Do you have the "disguising" spanish version? It is something that uses to happen with different regional Spanish. I assume that the option was "mujer" or "hembra". For most Spanish speakers, this is just "woman" or "female". But in some countries, they can mean ALSO "bitch".



I've been wondering what word for 'bitch' was that in Spanish and couldn't think of it. I'm not aware "mujer" or "hembra" mean something else. What countries are those?

Parrot wrote:

I don't mind translating it (M/F), but I hate filling it up on official forms. You always have to double-take about whether they mean "hombre/hembra" and "mujer/macho".


I've actually heard of a translation error involving the "M" before. I don't know in what institutional form was translated from M for mujer in Spanish into M for ¿macchio? in Italian. I think many Italians living in Spain lost their right to vote in the following elections because their personal details had changed so dramatically. Just an anecdote I heard at Uni.


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Patricia Baldwin
United States
Local time: 05:22
Spanish to English
+ ...
Non-translator & confidence trickster stream of consciousness... Aug 21, 2004

We are penetrating into the mind of a confidence trickster..charges 001 cent the word and barely speaks the target language.

"...so what...I'll get by, don't I get by translating movies,novels,articles,poems,engineering specs and agreements horrendously ...hey it's not only me..I get the best accounts too..my customer loves patents but hires moi, who holds NO translator title whatosever, have never studied linguistics, compared translation, don't know nuance or gist...can't tell false cognates from synonimia..my translation experience..my portfolio? What the heck that be?

Alas! I have the right customer..and hey ..let's face it the customer doesn't care a heck either..maybe it's the money..maybe it's the "let's not hire a professional translator" sport..ethics? dictionaries? peer consultation? ..search me man..what that for dude?

k..the word is "female"...oh oh..that a hard one!..
ummummm.. target language Spanish..and my native language..is...I think English..so welcome to my enlightened reasoning...I rule man...

female

get the dictionary man, the mataburros in Spanish..aha ..that one I know because I'm the king of the burros (dunce) "con perdon del burrito" (Nota de la Traductora y acérrima Protectora de Animales/Animal Protection Volunteer and Translator's Note: Dear donkeyslease pardon my French)

okay ..gotta translate the sooo difficult word "female" like..it's sooo hard..like I'll get an e-dictionary..k..got "female".. aha here's a good one with female "female dog" : "bitch"

uummm...taking a long time here ...Im not going to lose sleep on this man...let's rock...so female ..female dog..bitch!..what's the translation for that? check this one...get the spelling right..looks good to me..five letters target language five letters source language...yeah..I rule!

bitch: perra.

k. Got it!!

perra....also whore in English...

but that's another story and my stream of consciousness is gettin´ murky....need my great brain for more translation scams...gotta market myself now ..

Hey who needs a professional and experienced translator when WE are around to help corporations communicate..."


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Ramon Somoza  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:22
Member (2002)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
Does not surprise me.... Aug 21, 2004

with all those machine translations around (and the things they churn out!). However, Patricia has also a point with the 1-cent translators... 8>(

In any case, it's not simply a matter of looking at a dictionary. I still remember one case (20 years ago!) where in Madrid I had to stop a real fight because one of our South American brethen said innocently "¡Bonita cuadra!" (for our non-Spanish speaking colleagues, he was talking about a beautiful house, but in Castillian Spanish "cuadra" means "stable"!!!!) And the poor guy had simply intended to make a compliment...


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