No "nikud"? No excuse!

Hebrew is quite a hurdle for new immigrants; Hebrew without nikud (vowel markings, or whatever you choose to call them) is even more of a hurdle, and not only for new immigrants. If you're just an "ordinary" oleh, you're more-or-less expected to make mistakes in pronouncing words, sometime to your own embarrassment and others' merriment. But if you've decided to make translation your career, making mistakes in the work you submit is inexcusable. If you don't know – which is perfectly legitimate -- ask. Ask friends. Ask Jeeves. ask Google. Ask the client. And if all else fails, highlight the problematic word and call the client's attention to it.

All the above should be obvious and shouldn't need repeating.
Therefore it really irked me when I was given a document to edit (Hebrew>English) and found it full of errors based on misreading the Hebrew and not bothering to check. Some Israeli companies have both a Hebrew name and an English name (i.e. not transliterated). The foreign (usually but not necessarily English) names indeed look weird when transliterated into Hebrew, and without nikud it's often impossible to read them. All the more reason to make an effort and find out! Just guessing or inventing is irresponsible and gives translators a bad name.

A few examples:


Yam Erez said...

You're right, the xlator should've looked them up. But why not spell it גלאנווייט? Then at least xlator would have a fighting chance.

And don't get me started with Israelis who can't even pronounce the products they're selling, like the TeleSekr gal who kept wanting to know how it was I'd never heard of a brand of wet wipes called *HAH-giss*. To me, hagis is something eaten in Scotland. Huggies, however, is a product so named because it contains the word "hug". Perhaps this should've been explained to Miss TeleSekr.

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