Archive for the ‘English’ Category

Substandard translations

2007 February 10

When lecturers give students writing homework, most students just Google for the topic and then translate some (English) web pages they found. However, ignorance of the topic or underutilization of common sense usually creates a translation that’s silly.

Last semester, I took “Introduction to the history and philosophy of mathematics”. The class is divided into groups and each group must make a paper about the topic they choose. Before the test, I managed to get all the group’s paper. One paper particularly stood out, so let’s try to reverse engineer it!

  • “Ini dapat dibuktikan dengan PENGENALAN” -> “This can be proved using INTRODUCTION”. Great, a new proving method has just been invented. It obviously should be “Ini dapat dibuktikan dengan INDUKSI” which in English is “This can be proved using INDUCTION“.
  • “Teorema PENGINGAT Cina” -> “Chinese REMINDER theorem”. As in, “the theorem that reminds you to eat and take a bath”. The correct translation should be “Teorema SISA Cina” which in English is “Chinese REMAINDER theorem“. A famous theorem in number theory.
  • “Seekor laba-laba memanjat DENGAN beberapa kaki di dinding…” -> “A spider climbs the wall USING some feet…”. Because the problem doesn’t ask for the number of feet the spider has (or uses), the translation that makes sense is “Seekor laba-laba memanjat SEJAUH beberapa kaki di dinding…” (“A spider climbs the wall FOR some feet…”).

It’s as bad as a Biology student translating “order” (in taxonomy) to “pesanan” (as in “pizza order”).

Substandard translation is also found in commercial translated English textbooks. Sometimes, it’s as if the translator didn’t check whether their sentence makes sense.

I’ve also found some funny translations in the Indonesian sub of movies containing techonological (e.g., “open source“), scientific (e.g., “string theory“), and mathematical (e.g., “group“) jargons. It caused some chuckles but sadly I don’t remember them. (IIRC it’s in, among others, “Antitrust”, “October Sky”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “Good Will Hunting”, and that movie about natural disaster where birds suddenly fall from the sky)

Wedding poem typos

2006 December 19

I found a poem on the first page of a wedding photobook album. It’s not printed into the album itself, but added by the documentarist (for the lack of a better word). Here it is:

Love blossoms in the hearts
of those who give and share.
And like alovely flower,
it brings gladnes

OMG typos! “alovely” should be “a lovely”, “gladnes” should be “gladness”, and “everywhare” should be “everywhere”. That’s like, possibly the worst thing that could happen to someone’s marriage! Be careful in choosing a documentarist (this one is done by “Saluyu”).

But thank God “the” is not mistyped into “teh“. Else the couple will be really “pwned“!