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SOCNET  September 2003

SOCNET September 2003

Subject:

Re: how to translate INSNA to other languages

From:

Bill Richards <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Bill Richards <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 18 Sep 2003 10:51:44 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (124 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit http://www.sfu.ca/~insna/  *****

I have learned a lot about how much I don't know about languages. Thank
you for the informative comments. I have a few things I'd like to say:

1) The text on the back cover that is so problematic isn't new. It was
there on the  four issues of Connections that were published before the
one you just received. I didn't hear any complaints or suggestions or
comments about the back covers of  23(1), 24(1), 24(2), 24(3). They were
all the same as what you see on 25(1).

2) I did not ask people I met on the street or on a bus or in a pub to
translate the words "International," "Network," "for," "Social," and
"Analysis" or to give me the closest approximation they were able to,
given their limited linguistic abilities, their lack of scientific
training, or their lack of interest in answering this kind of question.

3) I used a multilingual translation service I found on the web. It is a
machine translation -- a computer program that does the best it can to
mangle the language as little as it can. As you know, machine
translation still needs some more work. It might translate words, but
not words in the context of other words in a phrase or sentence. I know
the translations are imperfect. They were the best I could find on the
web in spring of 2000.

4) I had no political (in any sense) goals in doing this. I was not
trying to send any kind of message to anyone beyond "it's international
-- lots of languages". It's not a secretly coded message. It was a
decoration for the back cover. I put the longer lines below the shorter
ones, rather than, say, putting the languages in alphabetical order.
The bottom line is not, as far as I know, text in any language spoken by
humans on this planet. (I may be wrong here. Please let me know if I am.
Does anyone know how to say it in Klingon?)

5) I  haven't thought about the accuracy -- or political correctness --
of the translations since 2000. I was more concerned with the content of
the journal and the other things I was doing for INSNA. For most of 2002
my attention was occupied with recovering the work I lost when my IBM
Deskstar ("Don't be cheap! Get a really good hard disk for your new
computer. Get an IBM Deskstar. It's a professional tool and you don't
want to take chances.") turned out to be an IBM DeathStar (look it up on
Google).

6) I have corrected the French, Spanish, and German versions (thanks to
the kind people who alerted me to the problem and sent correct
versions!). The corrected versions will appear on future issues.

French:

"Réseau International pour l'Analyse des Réseaux Socials"


Spanish:

"Asociación Internacional para el Análisis de Redes Sociales".


German:

"Internationales Netzwerk für Soziale Netzwerkanalyse"


7) I will be very happy to correct any other versions if you will send
them to me. I would be most grateful if you could send them in
WordPerfect or as Acrobat pdf files, with correct gender, number,
declension, capitalisation, etc.

8) Please accept my humble and heartfelt apology for any distress that
my linguistic ineptitude and political oblivion has caused.


Bill Richards

p.s.While I'm apologising for the back cover, I might as well apologize
for another error that you may notice. On pages 131 - 133 there is an
author index for the abstracts in the issue. Sometime after I made the
index and was putting the various bits and pieces together for printing,
the pagination of something that appeared earlier in the issue changed,
causing the numbers of all following pages to change. The page numbers
in the author index are off by 2. If it says you are on page 74, you are
actually on page 76. I discovered this when I was making the web version
and tried to put links from the author index entries to the
corresponding abstracts on the web. I also quickly realized that it
would take far too much time to do that. Sorry about that....


>... When I compare a 1998 volume of Connections with the most recent one, I see a few changes. Some languages have been added -- Bill can tell us whether these were done by native speakers (I should say writers ...).
>
>Also, I can see that some typos have crept in. Two of the errors that Tad notes in the Polish line are not present in the original. Both errors in the French bit are new, as are all errors in the Spanish. It would be interesting if the errors were added a little at a time, like mutations.
>   :
>   :
>I've just received by airmail a copy of Connections' volume 25, Issue 1, ... since July 2002. The back cover page shows how the Editors of the journal imagine the translations of INSNA into several European
>languages. ... That is why I can't help complaining about too many errors that I traced in few lines, not only the one on top of the list.... As regards the first error, I wonder why it has not been noticed in the country which hosts the headquarters of INSNA, where in many places the English speaking citizens can see French inscriptions, frequently containing pour=for .... My purely visual knowledge of Spanish has turned out sufficient
>to locate the following errors in the Spanish version: ...
>The Dutch translation which I recognized from voor=for looks correct. ... It seems to me that the Hungarian translation (the one in which "Network" is translated as "H#27#l#59#zat") is also good. ... Lastly, let me comment on the line in the Cyrillic alphabet, or the item which precedes the penultimate one (probably in Welsh
>or Gaelic). I suspect that the Russian translation was included in the list just to mark that the scholars from the postcommunist East are not excluded from the world community of science. ... I'm shocked by the low level
>of language consciousness revealed by the person responsible for this translation. He or she must have forgotten that every language is a structured system rather than a collection of words. ... It seems to me even more likely that the Translator (T), did not even use an English-Russian Dictionary, but asked an accidentally
>met Russian immigrant (R) with a pretty poor knowledge of English to give the counterparts of "international," "network", "for", "social", "analysis".
>
>I suspect that the dialogue between T and R ran as follows.
>
>T: Can you help me translate into Russian a couple of common
>   English words?
>R: Sure, what's the first word?
>T: <international>
>R: <mezhdunarodnyi'>
>
>Comment: Russian words are transliterated here according to rules used in the library catalogs. Note also that R gave the masculine form of the adjective <international>; the feminine form is <mezhdunarodnaya>.
>
>T: Tell me now what is the Russian word for <network>
>R: I'm sorry, I don't know this word.
>T: Perhaps you know the simpler noun <net>.
>R: Unfortunately, I'm not familair with this word, either.
>T: I'll try to describe its meaning. To make a net, you must
>   weave strings together.
>R: Then, I guess that what you mean is called <pletenka> in Russian. ... ....
>
>

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