Chutzpah, 2

What is more of a chutzpah, trying to pass off the work to be described below as a "proofreading" job, or the writer's presumption that he/she can write in English?...

Judge for yourselves.

Here are a few choice passages from what is commonly called in Hebrew "maslulei tiyulim", i.e. suggested tours or tour routes or treks or what-have-you. I am marking in red only some of the amusing (?) gaffes.


After the morning pick up, we will drive to Meggida National Park. There, we will descend with an escalator down to the amazing water cave which was made by men during the Canaan area and completely preserved up to these days.

From Meggido, we will drive to the ancient synagogue in Beith Alfa. In that synagogue ... we will observe an audio video presentation and the amazing mosaic which describes the holly arc, Isaac's sacrifice by Abraham and the wheel of fortune.


After the morning pick up, we will drive east to Qumran National park that lays on the Dead Sea Plato.

In 1974, a young Bedouin shepherd threw a stone to one of the caves in the region... From the cave ... he heard sounds of pottery vases.

From Qumran we will drive to Massada National Park. After watching an audio video presentation which tells the story and the history of this fortress, we will climb with a cable care to the top of the mountain. There, we will see the remains of the fortress which has been built by Herold.

After morning pick up, we will drive to Caesarea National Park. There, we will watch the impressive roman theater and the remains of a glorious port which have been built by Herold in Augustus Caesar's honor. There, we will discover Caesarea's stars throw a 3D technology experience.

We will travel around an accessible biblical path...

Well, what am I to do with such texts?

First of all, I told the client that this is not proofreading; this definitely comes under the heading of editing.

Secondly, I asked the client for the original Hebrew, thinking that this was merely an amateurish translation. No, says Client; as far as he knows, the text was originally written in English...

What do you think is more likely -- that the author truly thought his English only needs a bit of "polishing"? Or that s/he thought, "why pay xx shekels for Hebrew -> English translation if I can get away with yy shekels for mere editing of my English"?...


In any case, my favorite blunder in this job is the "Wheel of Fortune"... :-)


Jennifer said...

"Chutzpah" is trying to pass off the job in question as anything at all except a total mess...
I feel that such customers should be (albeit as delicately as possible...) put in their place - namely they should be told that what is needed is even MORE than editing - try copywriting! - or failing that, "heavy" editing. I also find that this kind of task tends to be harder and more time consuming than translating from scratch (although I understand that in this case, there was no Hebrew original)... Perhaps charging by the hour would be more appropriate under the circumstances?
Jennifer Tommer

Shira said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I also liked Wheel of Fortune!
But what difference does it make what you call it? Someone has approached you to fix this text up. It goes without saying that you charge hourly. That way, even if it's a rewrite, you do what you have to do. Why do you have to give the client a label for what you're going to do?

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