Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: We ... WHAT!?

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  • Islander, in reply to James Butler,

    have no doubt that after the west falls, satellites re-enter and undersea cables rot, English will splinter like Latin.

    It’s already happening…in the last 2 English editions of a couple of my books, I’ve been asked to provide meanings for perfectly clear* phrases in English. Thomas Kennally has had the same problem-

    * if you are an ANZer

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Collin2012,

    I don’t buy that the Americans would purposefully change the Prime Minister’s words, that would be a real PR/diplomatic disaster.

    Neither do I, but considering the Forum isn't exactly a fixture on the US State Secretary's calendar - and Clinton wasn't there to work on her tan - it's helpful to avoid gratuitous and easily avoidable offense.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic,

    And Fairfax finally has its own take online... although it's following the news rather than leading it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Islander,

    I find one of the (few) advantages of the Kindle is that you can look stuff up in a (very comprehensive) dictionary, so maybe that will go away again.

    (Although I suspect if you mean phrases in Te Reo, foreign readers may need a g;lossary. The only Maori phrase English people know is "Kia Ora", and they mostly think it's a type of orange squash).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Hi folks. Back in town. Might have to write about this in the morning.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Euan Mason,

    The US State Department probably preferred their original version. This could become like the Treaty of Waitangi, an NZ English version and a US English version...

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report

  • Islander, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I did specify 'phrases in ENGLISH" Rich-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Ah, indeed, the kiwi accent. My most recent fun was asking for a “tin trup tuckit” at a convenience store in Dublin.
    To me there’s another, far less exciting story in this, and it’s in the undervaluing of transcribers and linguists in general. Either it was machine transcribed (because transcription is so little valued it doesn’t matter if a machine does it), or some poor human was being paid by the word and trying to get through it in a hurry, possibly selected for their typing speed rather than their skilled ear. Being able to interpret uncued speech, let alone speech in another accent, is an art for which not everyone has a gift or talent.
    I base these assumptions on my experience of translation, which is also undervalued and increasingly underpaid, partly due to the assumption that machine translation can do most of the work. Google translate is an excellent tool, but it’s clear that too many places think the translation it gives them is good enough. Later this week I look foward to eating at a restaurant where the terrace is “flooded by the Virginia creeper”, or indoors “where ancient boxes for horses share the space on small places of intimacy.” While I really, really hope they didn’t pay someone for that, I also really wish they thought it important enough to pay someone enough to do it properly.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    I think I'll close this discussion now that there's a more considered original post by Philip Lyth to talk about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

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