Hounslow - Clueless about languages
Thread poster: Ty Kendall

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:49
Hebrew to English
Feb 8, 2012

I stumbled upon this the other day by chance. Rates aside, they value translation/interpreting by its degree of "difficulty" ("We group our languages based on how difficult they are to translate and interpret.") ...and they have two main "tiers".....

Top tier is for so-called "easier" languages.
Second tier is for "difficult languages".
http://www.hounslow.gov.uk/index/business/translation/translations_rates/language_tiers.htm

Now, I don't know who they consulted when they dreamt this up, but I'm not sure why they think Spanish and Mandarin belong in the same category when that category is based on level of difficulty to translate to/from English....or that Arabic and Albanian are "easier" than French.

Another thing, the rather relative term of "difficulty" is more often cited when learning languages, in which case many would agree that the Romance languages don't rank among the hardest for English speakers (not compared to Mandarin and Cantonese anyhow)....

However, the Hounslow tier ranking is based on how difficult they are to translate and interpret. Surely this is even more ridiculous....How is this quantified?

Admittedly, some languages are so divergent (grammatically, lexically etc) that it poses more of a challenge to the translator. Strangely though, the "easier" category only contains languages that considerably divergent from English grammatically and otherwise.

Then you have their view of Russian. A category-jumping language which is apparently "easy" to interpret, but "difficult" to translate.

The whole category thing is practically moot anyway, given that the rates are almost indistinguishable.
http://www.hounslow.gov.uk/index/business/translation/translations_rates.htm


 

XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:49
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Interesting and off-the-wall Feb 8, 2012

I also wonder why they've separated 'Face-to-face interpreting' and 'Telephone interpreting' since their very sophisticated language tier system is identical in both?

 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:49
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I want to know who the consulted experts are! Feb 8, 2012

So Portuguese is difficult to translate but easy to interpret?icon_smile.gif They should remove this nonsense all together.

 

Melissa Dedina  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:49
Czech to English
+ ...
of course Feb 8, 2012

Well, Russian. Easy enough to understand, but all those funny letters that mean something other than normal letters!

This is kind of hilarious. I'm trying to imagine the mental process that would lead one to a breakdown like this, but it's not quite coming to me...


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:49
Hebrew to English
TOPIC STARTER
Oh but it gets worse.... Feb 8, 2012

Haringey Council proclaim that:
"Google Translate is a free 3rd party service that, for the most part, performs an acceptable level of translation."
http://www.haringey.gov.uk/index/contact/translation_and_interpreting.htm

So, if you want to read their web pages in another language, you have the benefit of reading a GT mangled attempt which will no doubt be gobbledygook.

Whereas Merton Council's turnaround times are incredibly laid back:
"Any request over 1000 words may take more than 2 weeks to deliver."
https://forms.merton.gov.uk/AF3/an/default.aspx/RenderForm/?F.Name=j1kM9w2wRhE

(Enfield have similar protracted timescales:
http://www.enfield.gov.uk/info/169/languages-translating_and_interpreting_services/569/translation_and_interpreting_service/1)

Perish the thought that you might want a 30,000 word translation done by them!


 

Edwin
Local time: 11:49
German to English
+ ...
Close to home Feb 8, 2012

As a translator who (OK, unfortunately) lives near Hounslow, if its inhabitants could learn to speak their own language correctly, that might be a step forward.

 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:49
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
Another explanation? Feb 8, 2012

Whenever I've seen breakdowns like this, I've assumed that the "difficulty" lies in finding a translator/interpreter for that language (based on the demographics of the vendor pool) not in the work itself, or in learning the language. If there are few vendors for that combination relative to demand, their price might reasonably be higher. Difficulty of the language will play a role to some extent, as surely fewer English native speakers go on to master Arabic or Chinese than say, Spanish, but the situation may then be reversed for opposite combinations.

That's how I read it, anyway. The "difficulty in translating" is probably just an unfortunate turn of phrase that masks what is really meant, namely "difficulty in finding a suitable translator".



[Edited at 2012-02-08 18:43 GMT]


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:49
Hebrew to English
TOPIC STARTER
Unfortunately I think it is that retarded.... Feb 8, 2012

The languages they class as "difficult", such as French for example.... I think if there's one place in England abundant in competent French - English - French translators, it's London!
This kind of linguistic ignorance is completely unsurprising....unfortunately.

[Edited at 2012-02-08 18:48 GMT]


 

TranslateThis  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
"secoind" tier - must be difficult... Feb 8, 2012

to translate and interpret. Sure enough, it is even difficult to spell!icon_frown.gif

 


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