Off topic: Dreaded words/terms/expressions in the source language
Thread poster: Claudia Alvis

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 20:44
Spanish
+ ...
Dec 26, 2007

Sometimes it's because there's never enough context, sometimes they're too generic, sometimes they don't exist in the target language, sometimes they can mean a thousand different things, sometimes the structure of one language makes them hard to be transferred into the target language, sometimes they just can't be translated and the whole paragraph needs to be rephrased. Whatever the reason, the thing is that sometimes it feels that certain words/terms/expressions exist just to torture us (and by 'us' I mean 'me'); and that some technical writers love to rejoice at our pain.

Of course, the degree of oh-my-God-not-this-*bleep*-word-again varies depending on the languages. Things can get much more complicated, I assume, for an English-to-Japanese translator rather than a Spanish-to-Italian translator. Nonetheless, those terms do exist and they won't go away.

Some of my "favorite" terms are:


  • plug - no need to explain why, this word is pure evil.
  • to provide/supply - or as I call them, 'the twins from hell' (just a few synonyms: accommodate, add, administer, afford, arrange, bestow, bring, care, cater, contribute, dispense, equip, favor, feather*, feed, fit, fit out, fix up, furnish, give, grant, hand over, heel, impart, implement, indulge, keep, lend, line, look after, maintain, minister, outfit, prepare, present, procure, produce, proffer, provision, ration, ready, render, replenish, serve, stake, stock, stock up, store, supply, support, sustain, transfer, turn out, yield, apply, apportion, authorize, bring, contribute, deal, deliver, disburse, distribute, dole, execute, extend, furnish, give, impose, inflict, issue, measure out, mete out, offer, perform, portion, proffer, provide, regulate, serve, supply, tender, furnish, lend, loan, pay, bestow, furnish, grant, impart, offer, provide, render, supply, yield, accouter, appoint, array, deck, equalize, fortify, furnish, gear, gird, guard, heel*, heel up*, issue, load, load up, lug iron*, make ready, mobilize, outfit, pack, prepare, prime, protect, provide, rig, rod up*, strengthen, tote, suppose) And those are just SOME synonyms. The word 'context' never means so much to me as when I see these two.
  • see above - **looking up** where? It seems such an innocent term, almost like a hurt puppy ... until you try to translate it. (at least in Spanish)
  • in/out/input/output: no need to explain these either.
  • connection/selection - It's pretty much anything that ends in -ction because I can never tell right away how to spell it in Spanish. Is it -xión or -cción?
  • appropriate - I can't never find the appropriate way of translating this word.

    I'll think of (read:run across) more words later.


Sorry for the rant, I needed to let it out

What are your dreaded words?

[Edited at 2007-12-26 18:09]


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CristinaPereira  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:44
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Some more Dec 26, 2007

Hi Claudia,

I agree with most of the words in your list and add some more:

insight - well, an insight is nothing but an insight, right? I usually employ "knowledge", "perception", but never feel it is up to the right meaning.
deliver - I think it can be grouped under the "provide/supply" group...

And as for those who translate into French, what about that little challenging word that goes by the name of "enjeux"? I don't know anymore what to do about these all "enjeux" - usually "challenges". But what do you do when you have "enjeux" and "défis" in the same sentence?...

And finally, Claudia, as your native language is Spanish, I have to tell you things aren't that easy too for us that translate from Spanish (even if Spanish and Portuguese are twin languages):

- Memoria - it's never that simple as a "memory"

There's a lot more words I rage about but can remember at the moment.

Happy 2008 everyone!

Cristina


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
For translations from Spanish and Catalan... Dec 26, 2007

...any variation on "solidario"/"solidari". It has a zillion English equivalents, all depending on context.

I'm sure I'll think of a half-dozen other words like this in the middle of the night when I'm not trying.


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 03:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
from Spanish Dec 27, 2007

There are a few that drive me nuts, especially when they are used half a dozen times or more in the same short document and have to be translated several different ways.

plantear/planteamiento

apostar/apuesta

vocación (my "favorite" use of this was when an architect described his building as having a "vocación pétrea")

My all-time most hated words are:

articular/articulación

There are many more translations for these than most dictionaries would have you believe.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:44
Dutch to English
+ ...
Similar thread Dec 27, 2007

Hi Claudia,

I ran a similar thread about 6 months ago and it proved very useful because people came up with good solutions for these dreaded terms.

It was also interesting (read: comforting!) to see translators translating from the Romance languages all having the same issues as I sometimes encounter as a PT»EN translator.

I'll try find the link later when I've met my deadlines for the day, and people can then see if there are perhaps any good solutions there for issues they raise here.

Debs


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Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:44
English to Spanish
appropiate Dec 27, 2007

Claudia Alvis wrote:


  • appropriate - I can't never find the appropriate way of translating this word.





  • ¿"pertinente", "qué proceda", "correspondiente"...? (depende del contexto)

    Hola, Claudia:

    Muy interesante lo que has planteado y de acuerdo. A mí me encanta leer el Punto y Coma por la misma razón por la que me ha gustado leer tu hilo.

    Sólo recuerdo una palabra que se me atraganta al tener que traducirla, la llevo ya viendo muchos años sin traducir y en textos españoles, y me consta que la mayoría no la traduce: "senior". Por supuesto, también añadiría a la lista todos aquellos acrónimos propios de una empresa particular y que no se usan fuera de ella. Aquellos sobre los que no te informa el que te manda la traducción y que puede que sólo usen cuatro personas en un departamento...

    Saludos

    Marta


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    Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
    Brazil
    Local time: 23:44
    Portuguese to English
    + ...
    Similarities in Portuguese Dec 27, 2007

    Cindy Chadd wrote:

    There are a few that drive me nuts, especially when they are used half a dozen times or more in the same short document and have to be translated several different ways.

    plantear/planteamiento

    apostar/apuesta

    vocación (my "favorite" use of this was when an architect described his building as having a "vocación pétrea")

    My all-time most hated words are:

    articular/articulación

    There are many more translations for these than most dictionaries would have you believe.





    Hi Cindy,
    The words "apostar," "vocação" and "articulação" are a nightmare in Portuguese, too. Another one that drives me bananas is "realizar," which can mean any number of things, depending on the context.

    Amy


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    ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
    Canada
    Local time: 21:44
    English to French
    + ...
    Data output Dec 28, 2007

    That is one of those terms I feel like slapping in the face if only it had one. I come across it very frequently and I never managed to find an appropriate translation for it, so instead of translating the term itself, I reorganize the entire sentence so the message is clear but doesn't feel twisted. Every time I come across this term, I have to put my artist hat on, and I don't like that, because as artistically inclined as I may be, I really don't find that productive. Naturally, there is also no way I can stick this into a termbase or glossary - each occurrence is different and I have so far probably invented about twenty different ways of saying it depending on the context. What can I say - pure bliss!

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    ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
    Canada
    Local time: 21:44
    English to French
    + ...
    Depending on context Dec 28, 2007

    CristinaPereira wrote:

    And as for those who translate into French, what about that little challenging word that goes by the name of "enjeux"? I don't know anymore what to do about these all "enjeux" - usually "challenges". But what do you do when you have "enjeux" and "défis" in the same sentence?...


    I find that "issues" works pretty well for enjeux, provided that the context is suitable - or should I say appropriate?


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    Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
    Local time: 02:44
    English to Spanish
    autocorrección Dec 28, 2007

    Marta Fernandez-Suarez wrote:

    ¿"pertinente", "qué proceda", "correspondiente"...? (depende del contexto)



    Mil perdones, obviamenete el acento sobra y requetesobra. Lo acabo de ver. Eso me pasa por no repasar...

    ..............

    Claudia, tengo curiosidad por ver una frase inglesa a la que te hayas enfrentado con lo de "data output", ¿nos puedes poner un ejemplo con contexto?

    Saludos

    Marta

    [Edited at 2007-12-28 22:28]


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    Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
    Peru
    Local time: 20:44
    Spanish
    + ...
    TOPIC STARTER
    Data Output Dec 28, 2007

    Hi Marta,

    I'll post in English so others can understand us too. 'Data output' was actually brought up by Viktoria, she was more specific than I was, but from the top of my head I can think of a few issues. For instance, I'm translating a manual where the words [Data] Input and Output are mentioned very often, sometimes they refer to the actual data, sometimes to the incoming/outflowing data, sometimes to the jacks, sometimes as an adjective, sometimes as a verb. And it's impossible to use just one word for all those instances. And to make matters worse, within the same text, and even in the same paragraph, sometimes it's data output, sometimes it's current output, sometimes it's just output in such a way that it could be a noun, and adjective or a verb.


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    Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
    United Kingdom
    Local time: 02:44
    English to Spanish
    sorry Dec 29, 2007

    Hi

    Thanks, Claudia. I see exactly what you meant now.

    Sorry for having written in Spanish, a hell of a cold is preventing me from making sense...

    ..........

    Others for the list, may be (English into Spanish challenges):
    - smooth (sometimes "fast", others "efficient", "seamless")
    - display (different translation into Spanish according to how big the display is and where it goes)
    - interface (a conexion or a screen with options?, it depends)
    - accronyms created and for four or few people in a company department and passed on to a translator to peruse
    - many marketing terms and HR euphemisms

    Kind regards,

    Marta



    [Edited at 2007-12-29 01:55]


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