Poly Cocoa from Ghana

Hi guys,

Just a note to let you know I'm alive and kicking, after having dashed out of the eminently enjoyable ITA conference on Wednesday mid-morning, mid-coffee-and-yummy-cake, mid-talking to a colleague.
Had a family emergency; as you know, such things happen when one has an Aged Parent, bless them all.

You may ask yourselves why I keep on reading the Jerusalem Post, since I complain about its English so consistently. My husband subscribes to it, as I may have mentioned, simply because, for him, it covers one of life's most important aspects, i.e. the ups and downs of his fav soccer team, Tottenham, and affords him the vicarious enjoyment of cricket. As a side-effect, I get to read two of my favorite comic strips – Cathy and Calvin and Hobbes; we do the various word-games and the NY Times crossword puzzle; and I get to find fault with lots of poorly translated texts.

The worst are usually the special commercial supplements. This week, the supplement was called Blush, and I do think everyone who had anything to do with it should blush with shame. Just one example:

On page 18, bottom left, there's advertising blurb entitled Max Brenner for the Soul. Apparently, the manufacturer of this mouth-watering chocolate has now expanded into body care products. Reading the English text, it becomes painfully obvious that the blurb was very badly written to begin with. No big surprise there. The translation does nothing to improve it, and includes the following gem:

"You can also discover the body peel with poly cocoa from Ghana, cleansing milk with molasses…" etc etc.
[The Hebrew must have said פולי קקאוpolei cacao, i.e. cocoa beans.]

Will write again soon.
Thanks very much to all who said they follow my blog! It's very encouraging, and I shall try to keep you informed and entertained.

3 comments:

N K said...

You're so right, Nina. I'm not sure it's always a case of hiring a below-average translator. Lots of times they simply don't hire any at all, and expect the reporters to do their own translations - especially when they're "only" referring to a few brief quotes. One example, seen very often, is the word "framework". You just *know* that the reporter quoted someone who used the word "misgeret", not thinking twice about the fact that most of the time, the word "framework" is simply not used that way in English.

Nina R. Davis said...

Thanks, N.K.
As for "misgeret" -- as in-house editor at Hever, I waged an ongoing battle against the abuse of this word in Hebrew and its mistranslation. Mentioned it in the first lecture/presentation I gave at an ITA conference (2004.) Perhaps it's time to repeat some of my suggestions/recommendations, for the benefit of a new generation of translators :-)

N K said...

Nina, I think many of us - veterans and newbies - would appreciate a refresher of your collection of tips and general words of wisdom. We'd all benefit. In fact, I'd kinda hoped you'd resume the old newsletter someone used to forward to me (w/ your permission).

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