Off topic: Warning: do not follow these instructions
Thread poster: Noni Gilbert

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 5, 2015

I recently received a freebie in the form of a "power brank" - you know, one of those gradgets which you charge and which then weighs down your handbag so that you can charge your mobile on the go.

Since I had already owned one I can't say I paid any attention to the instructions on the brox, but just now I glanced at them when I was on the point of throwing it away. Prozians, we are in grave danger, and we must heed this "Safety informaton":

"Warning: do not follow these instructions, may cause a fire, electric shock, damage or other damage.
1. Do not throw, touch, not disassembled or pierce A5. [A5 is the model]."

And I've been carrying this around in my handbag...

[sics not included]


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TechStyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:13
Do not not throw or pierce Sep 5, 2015

So ... where did you not not throw it, and what happened?

It's much less helpful than the notorious Chinese-made chainsaw warning label: "Do not stop moving blade with hands or genitals".


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Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:13
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reckless behaviour on the part of mother, putting 11 year old son in danger Sep 5, 2015

I've just realised that I've actually lent the charger to my son for the weekend - unusually it has both a standard mobile head and an i-prad one, so he was happy to waltz off on excursion with it.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:13
English to Portuguese
+ ...
This is PEMT! Sep 5, 2015

Noni Gilbert wrote:

"Warning: do not follow these instructions...


Probably what they got from machine translation was:

Warning: (Please) Follow these (")do not(") instructions...

Parentheses here show parts that would be there, had it been human translation. As it is MT, they have been omitted. The supposed idea in the original text was that there should be "dos and don'ts", and these are the "don'ts".

The PEMT-er dutifully "fixed" (???) the word order, changing "Follow these do not instructions" into the correct (???) "Do not follow these instructions".


Once an agency assigned me a technical translation job, and was kind enough to provide me with previous translations supplied by the end-client for reference. It took me just a glance to realize that it had obviously PEMT-ed. There were literally hundreds of things like these.

I surmise that the end-client initially had these highly technical manuals machine-translated. As they had complaints about them defying comprehension, they had these PEMT-ed. Since the complaints decreased in number, but still remained, they decided to bear the cost, and hire that agency, who hired me, among others, to translate comme il faut.

The only problem is that those PEMT-ed manuals remained so (otherwise they wouldn't have given them as reference), while only the others were translated, and all of these together would be the complete operating instructions for an offshore oil platform!

Later, when we see pictures/videos of oil-drenched penguins, fish, beaches, etc. on the media, they try to convince us that it was an "unfortunate accident".

I can only hope that the guys who will run that unit know the ropes sufficiently well to do it without ever having to read the PEMT-ed manuals.


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Anthony Teixeira
Japan
Local time: 21:13
Member (2011)
English to French
+ ...
It's more simple than that Sep 6, 2015

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Noni Gilbert wrote:

"Warning: do not follow these instructions...


Probably what they got from machine translation was:

Warning: (Please) Follow these (")do not(") instructions...

Parentheses here show parts that would be there, had it been human translation. As it is MT, they have been omitted. The supposed idea in the original text was that there should be "dos and don'ts", and these are the "don'ts".

The PEMT-er dutifully "fixed" (???) the word order, changing "Follow these do not instructions" into the correct (???) "Do not follow these instructions".


Once an agency assigned me a technical translation job, and was kind enough to provide me with previous translations supplied by the end-client for reference. It took me just a glance to realize that it had obviously PEMT-ed. There were literally hundreds of things like these.

I surmise that the end-client initially had these highly technical manuals machine-translated. As they had complaints about them defying comprehension, they had these PEMT-ed. Since the complaints decreased in number, but still remained, they decided to bear the cost, and hire that agency, who hired me, among others, to translate comme il faut.

The only problem is that those PEMT-ed manuals remained so (otherwise they wouldn't have given them as reference), while only the others were translated, and all of these together would be the complete operating instructions for an offshore oil platform!

Later, when we see pictures/videos of oil-drenched penguins, fish, beaches, etc. on the media, they try to convince us that it was an "unfortunate accident".

I can only hope that the guys who will run that unit know the ropes sufficiently well to do it without ever having to read the PEMT-ed manuals.


I happen to translate a lot of stuff like this, and the source probably was something like "Not following these instructions may result in...". It doesn't look like MT either. Painful past experience tells me these instructions were probably translated from Chinese by a non-native speaker.


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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:13
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Not MT, I think Sep 7, 2015

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Noni Gilbert wrote:

"Warning: do not follow these instructions...


Probably what they got from machine translation was:

Warning: (Please) Follow these (")do not(") instructions...

Parentheses here show parts that would be there, had it been human translation. As it is MT, they have been omitted. The supposed idea in the original text was that there should be "dos and don'ts", and these are the "don'ts".

The PEMT-er dutifully "fixed" (???) the word order, changing "Follow these do not instructions" into the correct (???) "Do not follow these instructions".


I disagree, I think it's a very bad, even dangerous, human translation. I happen to translate a lot of this sort of text, and I think it probably should have read:

"Failure to follow these instructions may result in fire, electric shock, injury or material damage."

In fact, a line like "Please follow these 'do not' instructions" is likely to not comply with EU directives about instruction manuals, as that phrasing can be highly confusing for a reader. I hope that no human translator is putting that type of sentence in any instruction manual; it's really not a safe way to express the idea!


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