Distinguishing between language variants
Thread poster: Mary Worby

Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:02
German to English
+ ...
Sep 22, 2009

Just an observation. I've only looked at the German-English pairing.

It would be useful for entrants to be able to check a box for the language variant they are using. For example, UK English, US English, etc.. I feel many of the likes and dislikes added are somewhat region-dependent, which puts, for example, we UK English speakers at a disadvantage as we are in the minority.

If the submissions were marked with the language variant, I would be happy to rate the UK entrants. As it is, as a non-native speaker of American English, I don't feel comfortable making comments. This would allow entries to be genuinely rated by their peers and also reduce numbers of entries to be voted in the more popular language pairs.

Maybe it's just me!

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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:02
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
I agree Sep 22, 2009

But I thought it was the American English native speakers who were in the minority! I definitely get the feeling that some of the "disagrees" are based on that BE-AE difference.


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:02
French to English
It's not just you Sep 22, 2009

I had the same thought when I was rating some entries in my pair yesterday, I gave a dislike for a word order problem, then further down, I saw another entry with the same word order problem, which got me thinking that perhaps it was really just a US/UK issue and not grounds for a dislike. For future contests, it would be great if there was some way to mark the variant, that way raters could chose to rate entries that correspond to their own variant.

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Andrew Catford  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:02
Member (2008)
German to English
English variants – a change is needed. Sep 22, 2009

I agree with the comments above.

As a UK educated US resident, I usually have to make a conscious choice about which version of English to use. I am well aware that many of the rules of "proper" English I learned in the UK have to be thrown overboard for translation aimed at American readers. Others were never valid to begin with.

This contest (and those doing ratings) need to recogniZe (guess which variant I'm using) that English usage can be very different between the US and UK. This difference gives rise to an array of pedantic or ill-informed comments pointing out grammatical or spelling errors which, in fact, have zero validity in the context of one or other variant. (Assuming, of course, that the comments are currently valid somewhere and not merely a reflection of retarded English instruction in Centerville or East Cheam circa 1948.)

Don't misunderstand me. The objective translation comments posted can be extremely helpful. Anyone serious about their craft should welcome them. The same cannot be said of baseless grammatical likes and dislikes.

A single example will suffice: "Disliked the use of 'And' to begin a sentence." Tough! Two contemporary authorities make nonsense of that canard.

For the US
Bryan Garner's "A Dictionary of Modern American Usage" begins the section on "And" with
"It is a rank superstition that this coordinating conjunction cannot properly begin a sentence".
For the UK
Kingsley Amis in "The King's English" (1997)
"And the idea that and must not begin a sentence, or even a paragraph, is an empty superstition."

Maybe the raters should be required to state their authority before giving in to grammatical impulse. Then we might also benefit from informed commentary on quality of writing.

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cc in nyc  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:02
French to English
I'm tired of guessing! Sep 22, 2009

I've entered my first Proz contest. (Whoopee!) Well, I'm already tired of guessing whether a given translation is written in AE or BE. Sometimes it's discernible, but sometimes not... especially if the translator mixes styles. Besides, why should we guess?

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Shelagh Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:02
Member (2007)
+ ...
Couldn't agree more! Sep 23, 2009

It should also be strongly recommended for askers of KudoZ questions, but that's off-topic.

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Distinguishing between language variants

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