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Words that you hate translating
Thread poster: Michael Mestre

Michael Mestre
France
Local time: 06:39
English to French
+ ...
May 8, 2010

Dear colleagues,

We love words ; when they convey subtle ideas, nuances of thought that the linguist will enjoy translating knowing that the challenge of finding an equivalent in the target language will spark colorful chimes in his/her taste buds.

But occasionally we get frustrated with the drab and shallow ghosts that the marketing departments insist on uttering in each of their meaningless sentences.
There are words that annoyingly pop up several times in the same document, making you think on each occasion that the author should have imagined something different.
These words usually have tens of equivalents in your target language, and most of the times none of them seem to fit.

What are the words that you hate translating, for which you struggle to find suitable translations each time ?

---
Here is my own little contribution:

In English, my worst enemies are the overstated "Experience" and the overused "Design".
"Review" would also score some points on this scale..
---

Thank you !
Michael
(after one "review" too many)


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:39
English to German
+ ...
A word May 8, 2010


We love words


We do? Really? How very interesting.

Writing a text is like composing music. As far as I know, composers don't think in parameters of Bb or A#. Why should we?


But occasionally we get frustrated with the drab and shallow ghosts that the marketing departments insist on uttering in each of their meaningless sentences.


Shallow ghosts in the Marketing department. Meaningless. Hmmm... There are great authors, and there are bad authors. Sometimes good copy writers may have a bad day. Then I will write a better text, what else? I don't care if the copy writer had a cold or a hangover. I write for the target audience and nobody else. My texts are supposed to sell and to explain products and services. This is my job, this is what I am paid for.

These words usually have tens of equivalents in your target language, and most of the times none of them seem to fit.


I know 19 different German words for "bearing" as a noun, and lots more as a verb. There are about ten different degrees of "I love you" in German, depending if you are talking to your grandma, your lover or your dog.

What are the words that you hate translating, for which you struggle to find suitable translations each time ?


However: I do loathe the word "issue".

icon_smile.gif


 

Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 23:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My small list May 8, 2010

I love words like you, too. But I don't like translating these words, because they can mean many different things in Spanish (or because there is no equivalent, so you have to build your own phrase), and each time you have to think which is their appropriate sense; they can even change along the text:

- enforce
- encourage
- performance
- sense
- set
- is intended
- agreement
- agree


 

Beatriz Ramírez de Haro  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:39
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
"feedback" May 8, 2010

always makes me struggle

 

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Off the top of my head May 8, 2010

But necessarily mostly in Spanish, since my main combo is Spanish>English

For starters:
desarrollar
plasmar
soporte
importante

But on consideration, yes I can come straight up with a one word from English:

provide


There will be many more if I put my mind to it!


 

Michael Mestre
France
Local time: 06:39
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for... providing these answers :) May 8, 2010

Thanks for all your interesting answers..

@Nicole, you do seem to have an issue with admitting that you like your profession.. but from I gather by reading your posts on the forum, I am sure that your high standards involve some kind of love (well, its German equivalent adjusted to the target audience), or at least respect, for your work which I am sure is excellenticon_smile.gif

@Cristina, thank you for your long list ! I admit that I occasionally have problems with performance and enforcement in En->Fr as well..

@Beatriz, I see what you mean. "feedback loop" and "give me some feedback" do express very similar ideas, but their French translations are wildly different.

@Noni : yes, to provide ! Software provides, companies provide, providence provides.. everything seems to perform this action in English.

Another dreaded word to add to our growing list: "to support".


 

P Forgas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:39
Portuguese to Spanish
+ ...
two words I detest May 8, 2010

feature

issue

oh! also provide!

really all these multi-purpose words that are used in any situation the author cannot think in anything more suitable.

P.


 

Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:39
English to Arabic
+ ...
I suffer recurring headaches... May 8, 2010

whenever the following words are to be translated into Arabic:

- business (several equivalents in Arabic, depending on context, none really fit 100%)
- approach (process of approaching? method of approaching?)
- community (usually translated as "society" - not quite the same)
- access (possibility of reaching? entrance?)
- attitude (usually translated as "position", "stance" - again, not quite the same)


 

Michael Mestre
France
Local time: 06:39
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
We are building a marketing dictionary.. May 8, 2010

@Nesrin: you are not alone. I don't think "business" exists in any other language (meaning at the same time "market", "occupation", "profession", "sales", "purchases", etc..).
And I am not convinced that even British English speakers understand what "community" means exactly. (Question to UK English speakers: do you ?).
I always have this funny picture in my mind of happy neighbors having a barbecue together organized by the local school in an American residential suburb, but I am aware that it may be a dangerous stereotype..


 

xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 00:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Word is a 4-letter word. May 8, 2010

Michael Mestre wrote:

Dear colleagues,

We love words ...


Speak for yourself! I HATE words. I much prefer pictures. Good pictures tell at least a thousand words, are readable in random 'idea order' and are rarely ambiguous. Oh! - and they don't need translatingicon_smile.gif

Michael Mestre wrote:
But occasionally we get frustrated with the drab and shallow ghosts that the marketing departments insist on uttering in each of their meaningless sentences.


Thanks for reminding me why I only do technical translation - you know, stuff with 'meaning', ideas worth conveying to others.

Mind you, I'm full of admiration for colleagues who are happy to handle this sort of waffle:
Doug Suttles, BP chief operating officer, is reported as saying (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8670501.stm ):

We believe that it'll probably take the next two days to look for opportunities to overcome this challenge.


('scuse me while I shudder...)

Michael Mestre wrote:
What are the words that you hate translating, ... ?


The words I hate most are all those that come between the end of the 'Executive Summary' on page 1 - which, if the author is worth his salt, contains everthing the reader needs to know - and the end of the 'Conclusions' on page x.

MediaMatrix

[Edited at 2010-05-08 23:19 GMT]


 

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:39
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
yes! May 8, 2010

P Forgas wrote:

feature

issue

oh! also provide!

really all these multi-purpose words that are used in any situation the author cannot think in anything more suitable.

P.

oh yeah.
provide, design, draft.


 

Darío  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
My share May 8, 2010

Off the top of my head, I can remember these:

Bookish
Insight
Aspirational
Pictorial
Earthiness
Toddler

D.


 

Mariusz Kuklinski  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:39
Member
English to Polish
+ ...
Word I really hate translating May 9, 2010

A Polish word, "realizować" - something between "implement" and "carry out". When I worked at the Polish Press Agency (Poland's equivalent to Reuters), it was put on the list of banned words by one of the editors. Using it thus attracted a reduction in the author's bonus. The other phrase on the list was "today in Warsaw"...

 

Irena Kacarski-Kimova  Identity Verified
Macedonia (FYROM)
Local time: 06:39
Member (2006)
English to Macedonian
+ ...
my "favorites" May 9, 2010

I understand the frustrationicon_smile.gif.

For English to Macedonian translation my list contains:

laverage
set in/out/on/off ...
banchmark
business (with all the problems aready mentioned) and doing business (sounds simple in EN, but you would be supprised!)

and ... to change the tone of the discussion a bit ... EGGPLANT always creates a funny immage in my head and makes me smileicon_smile.gif.


 

Mailand  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:39
Italian to German
+ ...
Italian - German May 9, 2010

Hi guys (and girls, off course)! I love proz.com for this kind of stuff! I almost always find something among the forums to make me smile - whenever I look for something like it, because I feel like "chucking" my computer, dictionaries, reference books etc out of the window!
I translate mostly from Italian to German, but doing a lot of marketing texts, I often find myself to actually have to translate (or not to translate, whatever the clients likes best) English terms (the Italians very often just adopt them - way easier!). So I sympathize with the colleagues who wrote before.
One of my specialties is enogastronomy and there you really need a lot of fantasy. I even did a tasting course, in order to be able to generate the right kind of words for phrases such as "al naso questo vino ponderato si rivela pieno di sorprese come un inaspettata traccia di mora che poi al palato diventa quasi confettura ......" (not even one of the more convoluted ones ...).
But at the end I think it's this kind of puzzle that keeps us going, isn't it?
I do understand the colleagues who prefers technical text which say just what needs to be said, but .... doesn't even he wonder sometimes how the engineers putting down the texts he has to translate passed whatever exams they had to pass writing how they do??


 
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