[ExI] don't bother

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 7 17:19:57 UTC 2020

I read of a translator who heard the speaker use a metaphor involving a
cat.  He decided that it would make better sense for his listeners to make
it a dog, so he did.  Then the speaker had the cat climb a tree and the
translator was up one too.  bill w

On Fri, Aug 7, 2020 at 12:13 PM BillK via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Fri, 7 Aug 2020 at 17:56, spike jones via extropy-chat
> <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> >
> > The Japanese (and to some extent the Vietnamese) recognized that the
> whole notion of using hieroglyphics as a written language was a no-go, so
> they invented a form of their language which could be transmitted on a
> standard qwerty keyboard:
> >
> > Iki minangka conto saka ukara Jepang.
> > They did it right: they made the spellings strictly phonetic.
> >
> > The Vietnamese argued there was no possible way to play their language
> thru a qwerty keyboard any more effectively than one can play rap thru a
> trombone.  But the tried, kinda:
> >
> > Đây là một ví dụ về một câu tiếng Nhật.
> > Several of those Vietnamese characters aren’t available on the standard
> keyboard as far as I know, yet all the voting literature in this town comes
> in English, Mandarin and Vietnamese.  Used to have Spanish, but they
> dropped that.
> >
> > Clearly Vietnamese on a keyboard is a mess.  The Mandarin and Cantonese
> didn’t even bother trying.  They just learn English.  Kinda.
> >
> > Since Japan recognized that they needed to go international with their
> written language, it seems like they (and other languages) could invent a
> kind of simplified subset where all those terms for the same thing are
> collapsed down to one word and forget the social subtleties, don’t expect
> the round-eyes to master all that cultural stuff (don’t worry, we won’t.)
> >
> > Even English can be greatly simplified (once we get over the whole
> Newspeak implications (Orwell’s Newspeak concept really shoulda been
> introduced in a different book with a happy outcome (the concept, minus the
> political angle, is one of his great ideas))) and freely recognized as a
> specialized subset of language.
> >
> > Example, our verb “to be.”  We can express past, present and future
> tense with it, plurality and so forth, but that gives us 8 forms: be,
> being, been, am, is, are, was, were, and I mighta missed a couple, but what
> if… we could just accept that we sound a little like a teenage basketball
> star and use be for all of it?
> >
> > The goal: create a simplified Newspeak-ish vocabulary which has a
> simplified and formalized grammar, strictly phonetic spelling,
> unambiguously and rigorously defined terms, even if we need to accept
> clumsy and possibly harsh-sounding translations.
> >
> > Then we get other languages to meet in the middle and see what happens.
> >
> > I would be reluctant to even try to work with Japanese, having grown
> distrustful of everything my sushi chef taught me.  I would be introduced
> to my neighbor’s granddaughter, try to say hello, young lady, and have it
> come out: Greetings, promiscuous wench.
> >
> > I must admit the Google translate feature does a hell of a good job.
> >
> > There is a point to all this, a culture thing, to follow.
> >
> > spike
> > _______________________________________________
> Colloquialisms and context are a big problem for computer translation
> programs. Word X = word Y just doesn't work in many cases. Google
> translates  "go aisatsu, Amanojaku" as "Greetings, perverse person".
> Which is a fair attempt at a conversational translation.  Between two
> male American friends it might even be translated as "Hi, you little
> devil", spoken with a smile. Human translators still have a job to do.  :)
> BillK
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