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I was the one who first put the translations on the back of Connections. I
used native speakers for all of them. Incidentally, I removed the Chinese
one at some point because native speakers disagreed strongly on the correct
translation (I think the problem was Hong Kong vs mainland China).

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 think it is good to fix the errors (even if it destroys a natural
experiment), but I hope no one takes them too seriously.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Tadeusz Sozanski" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2003 7:49 AM
Subject: how to translate INSNA to other languages

> *****  To join INSNA, visit  *****
> Dear Editors of Connections
> Dear Socnetters
> I've just received by airmail a copy of Connections' volume 25,
> Issue 1, the first issue sent to me as to the member of INSNA
> since July 2002. The back cover page shows how the Editors of the
> journal imagine the translations of INSNA into several European
> languages. It is a good idea to let the world know in such a way
> that INSNA is an international organization, even if only the minority
> of its members speak languages other than the official one.
> I know to a greater or smaller degree some of the languages
> represented in the list. Hence I cannot view this stuff in the same
> way as I would look at Chinese writing or all Hebrew alphabet
> except alef known to me as a mathematician. 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.
> Let me begin from correcting this first item which is in my
> mother language. The translation of INSNA into Polish is OK, but the
> effect has been spoilt by three mistakes made by the person who
> retyped the text with the use of WordPerfect: (1) One syllable
> (do) was omitted in the first word which should read
> Mi#1,113#dzynarodowa (#1,113# means character #113 in WordPerfect
> Character Map #1); (2) two letters were transposed in the fourth
> word: it should be "Sieci", not "Seici"; (3) The last word
> "Spolecznych" should have #1,153# instead of "l".
> Let me show in turn two errors in the French translation of
> INSNA: (1) "pour" was mistyped as "piur"; (2) mute "x" is missing
> at the end of R#41#seau in its second appearance where the noun
> should be in plural. The latter error might also happen to a
> native user of French. 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. Leaving this error makes me deduce that no proofreading
> was done after the back cover page had been typed and printed.
> My purely visual knowledge of Spanish has turned out sufficient
> to locate the following errors in the Spanish version:
> (1) "Associati#59#n" instead of "Asociaci#59#n"; (2) "Socials"
> instead of "Sociales".
> The Dutch translation which I recognized from voor=for looks
> correct. Probably the European Editors of Connections took care
> of this.
> It seems to me that the Hungarian translation (the one in which
> "Network" is translated as "H#27#l#59#zat") is also good.
> I can't say the same about the German translation. In spite of
> my poor knowledge of this language, I bet the text on the back
> cover page also violates some spelling or grammar rules. Let the
> German subscribers of Socnet (the second largest group among
> European Socnetters) look at this and send the proofs themselves.
> As regards other most widely spoken European languages, one of
> them is missing. My moderate knowledge of Italian prompts me the
> following translation: La Rete Internazionale per l'Analisi delle
> Reti Sociali. Let the Italian colleagues (24 names are listed
> when REVIEW SOCNET (BY COUNTRY is sent to the list server) say
> if this is OK (I'm not sure if there should be "delle" rather
> than "di").
> 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. Let
> the Russian members of INSNA, if there are any, say themselves
> what would make them more angry: the omission of their language
> or a translation like that. Myself, 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. If you translate a statement from a typically analytical
> language like English into a highly inflected language like Latin
> or most Slavic languages, you can't just look up in a dictionary
> the counterparts of the words which make up the statement. If you
> proceed in this way, the result will be meaningless or ridiculous.
> 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.
> Comment: To explain the meaning of <net> to R, T tried to avoid
> any abstract connotations in the hope that this would help R to
> find the right counterpart. As a consequence, R translated <weave>
> as <plesti>. Hence <pletennyi>, or <woven>, and the derived noun
> <pletenka>.
> R: What is the next word?
> T: <for>
> R: <dla>
> T: <social>?
> R: <obshchestvennyi'>
> T: <analysis>?
> R: <analiz>
> T: That's all. Thank you very much.
> What is wrong with this dialogue? First, the Translator did not
> show the whole statement to R. Second, T did not ask R to check
> the result. If R saw the text printed in "Connections", the
> dialogue could go on as shown below and would end up with finding
> the right translation.
> R: <Mezhdunarodnyi' pletenka>? This is not grammatically correct,
>    it should be <mezhdunarodnaya pletenka>
> Comment: a noun and adjective must agree in gender (not only in
> Slavic languages).
> T: OK, but is the meaning of the statement clear to you after
>    this correction?
> R: Is INSNA an international group of acrobats specialized in
>    making nets from their bodies?
> T: No! INSNA is an international association which is called a
>    network because its members communicate and establish ties
>    among each other.
> R: Why didn't you say this to me at the very beginning? Now I can
>    translate properly the word <net> as <set'> and the whole Russian name
>    for INSNA will be <Mezhdunarodnaya set' dla analiza
>    obshchestvennoy seti>
> Comment: R has corrected T's translation of <for social network
> analysis>, retaining the noun <network> in singular in the second
> place. This prompts him to ask the question.
> R: What social network is analyzed by the members of this
>    association?
> T: They don't analyze a single network. There are many social
>    networks and all of them can be studied.
> R: Therefore, the correct translation should be: <Mezhdunarodnaya
>    set' dla analiza obshchestvennykh setei'>.
> Comment: R changed singular to plural and put all nouns and
> adjectives in appropriate "cases".
> T: Thus, what remains yet to be done is to write this text in the
>    Cyrillic alphabet.
> I can do it myself instead of R. Here is the spelling of the key term:
>  #10,37#10,11#10,39#10,59#.
> If you would like to correct the Russian version, I can send you
> the whole Cyrillic text written in WordPerfect.
> The Russian word for "net" and "network" is similar to the Polish
> word (sie#1,97#) and possibly to its counterparts in other Slavic
> languages, though not all, as I infer from the line having
> "Mre()a" (where () stands for a character not recognized by
> WordPerfect). Can somebody tell me whether this line (second from
> top of the list) is in Slovenian or Croatian. I visited Yugoslavia
> in 1987 but failed to get familiar with the basics of these two
> languages which I usually do when I go to an alien language environment.
> However, my one day visit to Slovenia was not planned in advance.
> To conclude, let me take this opportunity to send my greetings to
> Anushka and Vladimir whom I met that day in Ljubljana.
> And the last question: can anybody translate INSNA to Latin, the
> language used by the European scholars before English.
> Tad Sozanski
> (in Poland: Tadeusz Soza#1,155#ski; "sz" is the counterpart of
> English "sh", #1,155# sounds like Spanish #1,57# or "gn" in
> French or Italian).
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