de germanicus horribilis...
Thread poster: Pablo Bouvier

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:18
German to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 6, 2009

I wonder (and it worries me) if some german people can not write correctly their own language anymore, they have no time for it, or if these texts have been written by not native people. Or they do not care...

www.proz.com/kudoz/german_to_spanish/engineering:_industrial/3486703-auf_mindestens_seiner_einen_breitseite.html

www.proz.com/kudoz/german_to_spanish/telecommunications/3470975-am_angeschlossenen_pc.html

www.proz.com/kudoz/german_to_spanish/law:_contracts/3481396-der_ver_frase.html

Sentences like those where words are missing or remaining, in which the order is quite doubtful, or are of a such ambiguity that nobody can understand them, give me every time more magician Mandrake complex and less translator vocation . It is not that I claim translations should be always easy to be done. But, at least that I do not have to wear out my salary in psyquiatric treatments because of collateral damages... ;-D


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:18
German to English
Non-native speakers writing technical manuals Oct 6, 2009

From time to time I find myself puzzling over the syntax of texts, with wrong prepositions and incorrect plurals. Such mistakes are probably generated by non-natives. Usually these texts originate in large corporations with a multinational workforce.

Another phenomenon that irritates me is when non-natives try to write in another language when they really don't know the target language. From time to time I get texts with passages in "English" that are completely unintelligible. I have to go back to the client and ask what that passage should be in the document source language so I can render it into English.

This can sometimes also be a source of mirth. I recently had a large specification with a few passages in "English." Many of these sections were acceptable, but I had to laugh when the author wrote about "two-food driver detection."

To be fair, I'm sure that this phenomenon isn't limited to German source texts.



[Edited at 2009-10-06 19:21 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:18
French to German
+ ...
Not limited to German, indeed Oct 6, 2009

I have 3 source languages and horrors are to be found in all of those (French, English and German) especially when, as Kevin puts it, it is obvious by reading the source that the text was not written by a native of the language in question.
And when it is, I have arrived to the conclusion that some writers tend to overestimate their redactional skills when it comes to convoluted sentences like in legal pieces (contracts and the like). But technical manuals are not exempt of such defaults and some folks manage it to make unclear whether step X comes before or after step Y - which can become critical to dangerous.

[Edited at 2009-10-06 18:37 GMT]


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Tarja Braun  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:18
Member (2008)
German to Finnish
+ ...
Dealing with that every day - time-consuming, sometimes annoying, sometimes funny Oct 6, 2009

I had this one today: "Nach jeder Benutzung muss die Brause zum Trocknen zerlegt werden." We are talking about a normal shower in the bathroom. The sentence is grammatically correct, no words missing, but it is nonsense. I am happy that I don't need do that with my shower.

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xxxblomguib  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:18
English to Flemish
+ ...
Try patents...in any language... Oct 6, 2009

Hello all,

I fully agree...as an engineer and linguist, I primarily deal with texts of patent literature. I can guarantee you that it doesn´t matter what language those texts are written in (I deal with EN - FR - DE - SP and PT as source languages, but suppose that - based on this set - the rest must be the same. If I am wrong, please correct me!); only in exceptional cases are the texts of patent applications (or even published patents) readily understandable (even by specialist of the subject field), most of the time they are full of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and ambiguities (and I will gladly omit stylistic issues!)...and if the text is understandable, most of the time it has nothing to do with the accompanying drawings (which, for a patent, is the basis to the understanding of teh contents!)....

If ever you are in need of "linguistic horrors", please send me a mail and I will gladly try to dig up the collection I used to keep....I have given up in the meantime; it just wasn´t fun anymore!

What do you think of, for example, of (If my memory serves me right....)

....characterized by the fact that the first almost more or less straight part, and the second almost more or less straight part both more or less predominantly perpendicular to the third almost more or less straight part, are predominantly straight in such a way that they do not deviate from a more or less straight line.





[Edited at 2009-10-06 21:26 GMT]


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:18
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
not language specific Oct 6, 2009

Dear Pablo,

I'm sure this is the same in all languages. Also, I understand that German sometimes might be hard to understand for non-natives, even if it is correct.

I can't follow the discussions in the examples you quote as I don't speak Spanish, but at least with the first question there's no problem (unless it doesn't make sense in the context, which the asker doesn't name). So there might rather be a problem on the other side of the communication chain here ...


Best regards,
Erik



[Bearbeitet am 2009-10-06 21:32 GMT]


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:18
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
de germanicus horribilis... Oct 6, 2009

Tarja Braun wrote:

I had this one today: "Nach jeder Benutzung muss die Brause zum Trocknen zerlegt werden." We are talking about a normal shower in the bathroom. The sentence is grammatically correct, no words missing, but it is nonsense. I am happy that I don't need do that with my shower.


It makes me happy to know that you do not have an artichoke... of this brand.
It would cost you a fortune ;-D


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:18
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
de germanicus horribilis... Oct 6, 2009

[quote]efreitag wrote:

Dear Pablo,

I'm sure this is the same in all languages. Also, I understand that German sometimes might be hard to understand for non-natives, even if it is correct.

I can't follow the discussions in the examples you quote as I don't speak Spanish, but at least with the first question there's no problem (unless it doesn't make sense in the context, which the asker doesn't name). So there might rather be a problem on the other side of the communication chain here ...


Best regards,
Erik

Erik: It has nothing to do with Spanish. It has to do with German writing.

In the first example: does it mean that it has only one wide face or several wide faces and that in at least one of them there must be realized a certain action. Was ist "seiner einen" für eine grammatikalische Struktur...)? (Siehe Jutt'as Meinung in der Diskussion der Frage und ich bin auch der gleichen Meinung).

In the second one, the order is so ambiguous, that it is not known what may be programmed, neither what is connected where.

And in the third one, the particle "der" was exceeding, what has given birth to the longest discussion about the sense of the phrase...

kind regards.
Pablo


[Editado a las 2009-10-06 23:31 GMT]


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:18
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
de germanicus horribilis..." Oct 6, 2009

[quote]blomguib wrote:

Hello all,

I fully agree...as an engineer and linguist, I primarily deal with texts of patent literature. I can guarantee you that it doesn´t matter what language those texts are written in (I deal with EN - FR - DE - SP and PT as source languages, but suppose that - based on this set - the rest must be the same. If I am wrong, please correct me!); only in exceptional cases are the texts of patent applications (or even published patents) readily understandable (even by specialist of the subject field), most of the time they are full of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and ambiguities (and I will gladly omit stylistic issues!)...and if the text is understandable, most of the time it has nothing to do with the accompanying drawings (which, for a patent, is the basis to the understanding of teh contents!)....

If ever you are in need of "linguistic horrors", please send me a mail and I will gladly try to dig up the collection I used to keep....I have given up in the meantime; it just wasn´t fun anymore!

What do you think of, for example, of (If my memory serves me right....)

....characterized by the fact that the first almost more or less straight part, and the second almost more or less straight part both more or less predominantly perpendicular to the third almost more or less straight part, are predominantly straight in such a way that they do not deviate from a more or less straight line.



I believe your example is straight more or less impossible to understand...
I know that patent language is usually complicated , but I was speaking about relative usual texts.


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:18
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
different point of view Oct 7, 2009

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

Erik: It has nothing to do with Spanish. It has to do with German writing.

In the first example: does it mean that it has only one wide face or several wide faces and that in at least one of them there must be realized a certain action. Was ist "seiner einen" für eine grammatikalische Struktur...)? (Siehe Jutt'as Meinung in der Diskussion der Frage und ich bin auch der gleichen Meinung).


I'm sorry, I hadn't seen the complete discussion (I forgot to scroll down). I don't agree with Jutta, though: The sentence isn't particularly nice, but it's ok. It means that the object has more than one (in fact two) wide faces, at least one of which is being referred to. Right now, I can't be bothered to think about a name for the grammatical structure used here, but it is the same as in "Mit seiner einen Hand nahm er den Apfel, während er sich mit seiner anderen Hand am Kopf kratzte".

Pablo Bouvier wrote:
In the second one, the order is so ambiguous, that it is not known what may be programmed, neither what is connected where.


No problem here: The "Funktionstasten" can be programmed on the computer, via the "Web-Interface" which is included in the "Telefon".

I understand why this may seem ambiguous to non-natives, but this is just the way it is said in German, whereas in English you'd probably also say where the computer actually is connected to.

Pablo Bouvier wrote:
And in the third one, the particle "der" was exceeding, what has given birth to the longest discussion about the sense of the phrase...


Yes, this is the only instance of an actual error. Very probably, it is not an excess "der", but a slash missing between "des" and "der", designating that "Lieferanten" encompasses genitive singular AND plural.

To summarize: Of your three examples, 1) and 2) are perfectly alright and understandable (though admittedly not particularly nice), while 3) indeed shows a minor error. Nothing to get upset about.

The problem here clearly is a translator's lack of understanding the source language. I'm sorry if your source language doesn't meet your standards, but that's the way it is

[Bearbeitet am 2009-10-07 00:13 GMT]


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:18
German to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
de germanicus horribilis... Oct 7, 2009

[quote]efreitag wrote:

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

Erik: It has nothing to do with Spanish. It has to do with German writing.

In the first example: does it mean that it has only one wide face or several wide faces and that in at least one of them there must be realized a certain action. Was ist "seiner einen" für eine grammatikalische Struktur...)? (Siehe Jutt'as Meinung in der Diskussion der Frage und ich bin auch der gleichen Meinung).


I'm sorry, I hadn't seen the complete discussion (I forgot to scroll down). I don't agree with Jutta, though: The sentence isn't particularly nice, but it's ok. It means that the object has more than one (in fact two) wide faces, at least one of which is being referred to. Right now, I can't be bothered to think about a name for the grammatical structure used here, but it is the same as in "Mit seiner einen Hand nahm er den Apfel, während er sich mit seiner anderen Hand am Kopf kratzte".

Pablo Bouvier wrote:
In the second one, the order is so ambiguous, that it is not known what may be programmed, neither what is connected where.


No problem here: The "Funktionstasten" can be programmed on the computer, via the "Web-Interface" which is included in the "Telefon".

I understand why this may seem ambiguous to non-natives, but this is just the way it is said in German, whereas in English you'd probably also say where the computer actually is connected to.

Pablo Bouvier wrote:
And in the third one, the particle "der" was exceeding, what has given birth to the longest discussion about the sense of the phrase...


Yes, this is the only instance of an actual error. Very probably, it is not an excess "der", but a slash missing between "des" and "der", designating that "Lieferanten" encompasses genitive singular AND plural.

To summarize: Of your three examples, 1) and 2) are perfectly alright and understandable (though admittedly not particularly nice), while 3) indeed shows a minor error. Nothing to get upset about.

The problem here clearly is a translator's lack of understanding the source language. I'm sorry if your source language doesn't meet your standards, but that's the way it is

I am sorry, but as you can see at the discussions even native people does not understood some sentences like you. And I can't neither believe this is a lack of understanding of the source language by native people itself, but if you like to think this has something to do with my standards, this is up to you...

About the third sample, the client self told the particle "der" was exceeding. And should the order not be just the opposed? First singular, second plural?

For the second and the first one, I agree with you. But, from the text itself, at the second one it may be difficult to deduce if the PC is connected to the phone, or to the electrical network, or only on. You can see this from the different answers and once more and again from native people. Have a nice night.


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Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:18
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
monolingual Kudoz Oct 7, 2009

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

I am sorry, but as you can see at the discussions even native people does not understood some sentences like you. And I can't neither believe this is a lack of understanding of the source language by native people itself, but if you like to think this has something to do with my standards, this is up to you...

About the third sample, the client self told the particle "der" was exceeding. And should the order not be just the opposed? First singular, second plural?

For the second and the first one, I agree with you. But, from the text itself, at the second one it may be difficult to deduce if the PC is connected to the phone, or to the electrical network, or only on. You can see this from the different answers and once more and again from native people. Have a nice night.


Well, I am native. I also live in a country where the source language is spoken (which no-one of the participants in those discussions do, I have at least checked that, as I don't understand the discussion in Spanish). Even native-speaking translators may fail.

May I suggest that you research these issues by means of a monolingual (German-German) Kudoz question? This will reveal that 1) and 2) are perfectly alright and understandable.

It seems like you're complaining along the lines of "This language isn't structured in a clear and simple way, these Germans even make errors, and when I try hard enough, I can spot ambiguities!"

I really don't see the point of your posting. If German fulfilled your standards, machine translation would be doing most of the work.

[Bearbeitet am 2009-10-07 14:29 GMT]


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