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Off topic: How important is spelling really?
Thread poster: Satu Ilva

Satu Ilva  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:37
English to Finnish
+ ...
Oct 10, 2007

I came across this and thought it appropriate for Proz - after all we spend so much time getting our spelling just right... see if you can read the text below, it's an interesting excercise

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid. Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!


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kamdine
Turkey
Local time: 11:37
French to English
+ ...
Wow... Oct 10, 2007

Wow, pretty crazy and interesting! But I'm not about to tell my students spelling isn't important!!

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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Amazing Oct 10, 2007

I could read it without any problems, and quite as quick as a "normal" text.

Nevertheless, spelling is still important, even if not for just a simple understanding of a text, obviously


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 11:37
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Spelling is important though! Oct 10, 2007

Giuseppina Gatta wrote:

I could read it without any problems, and quite as quick as a "normal" text.

Nevertheless, spelling is still important, even if not for just a simple understanding of a text, obviously


Exactly my feeling

Mats


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elherrera  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:37
Member (2006)
Russian to English
+ ...
Are we just weird, or what? Oct 10, 2007

Actually, this is the second time I have seen this text emailed or posted. Still, it is easy to read - it's not a problem at all. I'm surprised at the number of people unable to read it.

But, you can still believe that proper spelling - and all the rest, running the gamut from choice of vocabulary to punctuation to selection of style, is of paramount importance. It is all your calling card, and as they say "first impressions last".

I wonder if anyone has a similar example for other languages - and the result!

Maybe translators are just strange birds by nature...


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Isabel Booth  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:37
Italian to English
Just goes to prove ... Oct 10, 2007

the time I spend reading and re-reading a finished translation is time well spent!

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dkalinic
Local time: 11:37
Croatian to German
+ ...
Exactly Oct 10, 2007

Mats Wiman wrote:

Giuseppina Gatta wrote:

I could read it without any problems, and quite as quick as a "normal" text.

Nevertheless, spelling is still important, even if not for just a simple understanding of a text, obviously


Exactly my feeling

Mats



My feeling too.
Davor


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Niels Stephan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:37
Member (2009)
English to German
Text in german Oct 10, 2007

I remember seeing a german version if this text earlier, but I can't find it right now. It worked as wonderful as the English version did.

(And hello to the forum!)


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:37
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Actually Oct 10, 2007

I think a lot more that 55% of people will be able to read that.

Imo spelling is no more important that sentence and paragraph structure.

The idea of writing is to communicate with others, so make even the most complex idea simple to read, and easy to follow.

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
(Albert Einstein)


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Dirk Wittke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:37
Member (2015)
English to German
Myth-making Oct 10, 2007

You are able to read an understand the text, because it was made to be understood. It's simply a simple text with simple misspellings. It's a known myth-making internet story.

Tehre si a ptrety good Germna atricle aobut htis tpoci at:
http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/15/15701/1.html


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Satu Ilva  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:37
English to Finnish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I was wondering too Oct 10, 2007

Jo Macdonald wrote:
I think a lot more that 55% of people will be able to read that.


I'd have thought so too. I don't know where this information comes from, it's just one of those things that float around on the internet... it would however be interesting to do this in other languages too and see if the phenomenon is universal.

And yes, I think spelling is important, I'm as finicky about spelling and grammar as the next translator. Even so, it's weird and wonderful how the brain works to bridge the gaps in understanding.


[Edited at 2007-10-10 08:52]


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:37
English to Arabic
+ ...
It does explain though... Oct 10, 2007

Isabel Booth wrote:

the time I spend reading and re-reading a finished translation is time well spent!



... why you can sometimes read and re-read a finished translation and still not spot some simple typos, esp. those not recognised by spell checker.
Of course, once you've sent the translation you immediately spot them all!


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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 11:37
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Have seen this Oct 10, 2007

in Norwegian also, and that works the same way.

It varies a little, though. Some people have to read it through several times before even recognizing that there is something strange about it.
I spotted that immediately, and the English text took me slightly longer to read than the Norwegian one.

People with dyslexia have difficulties in reading texts like this, or those learning to read and write.
Most people recognize words as "pictures" and do not spell them through while reading.

Spelling is important. A text with poor spelling, bad grammar and confusing structure makes understanding difficult, even if 55% (or whatever) of people can still make out the words.


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Satu Ilva  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:37
English to Finnish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Busted :) Oct 10, 2007

Dirk Wittke wrote:

You are able to read an understand the text, because it was made to be understood. It's simply a simple text with simple misspellings. It's a known myth-making internet story.

Tehre si a ptrety good Germna atricle aobut htis tpoci at:
http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/15/15701/1.html


Ha. You know, now that it's been pointed out that this is old, I think I have a vague memory of seeing the text before.

For those of us who cannot read German whether letters are in the right order or jumbled, here's a breakdown of the trick in English (including versions in other languages):

http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/~mattd/Cmabrigde/

Oh well, there's still some truth in it and it was a fun idea


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lingomania
Local time: 20:37
Italian to English
Rather important Oct 10, 2007

Spelling words correctly is very important especially in a language like English where most of the time, words are composed of many "letter combinations" and silent letters unlike languages like Italian. Spelling helps to pronounce well and vice versa.

Rob


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