Jul 3
China Visa Service by Oasis International Travel: Cheap, Fast, Reliable

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China%20Visa%20Service.gifChina is a country with an incredibly rich history and culture.  For thousands of years, its technology, people and landscapes have embodied some of the best this world has to offer.  Student, tourists and business travelers alike enjoy going to China for work, study or relaxation.  Some of your China visa options include:

  • China Tourist Visa - For sightseeing, visiting family or other personal reasons; usually valid for 180 days.  In your visa application, you'll need to include a current, valid passport with at least six months remaining before its expiration date and at least one blank page left.  You will also need to submit a  passport photo and a complete visa application form.
  • China Business Visa - Same requirements as above.  This visa applies to you if you have been invited to China for a business-related reason and is usually valid for up to 180 days.
  • China Work Visa - Again, same requirements.  Typically valid for 90 days.  This applies to you if you need to go to China for work.  You can take along your family members.
  • China Study Visa - Can be valid for more than 6 months.  This visa is for students or researchers coming to China to pursue their studies.
  • Other China Visas - There are a few other China visa types - you can learn about them at the Oasis website.

 

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Please visit OasisChinaVisa.com today - you'll be glad you did.

May12
TranslationMaven on 'Leave'
Sorry, but TranslationMaven is currently on leave. However, please enjoy the existing valuable articles about the translation industry.
Apr13
Why You Get Professionals to Do the WHOLE Site
Daido Steel is a large Japanese manufacturer of specialty steel products, like parts for power tools.  Their main English language site is translated well, for the most part, and they have been careful to keep text to a mimimum.  Technical terms are translated well, and their is evidence of professional work throughout the site... but somebody slipped up on the Contact Us page.  The inquiry form is simple enough that you can't mess it up, but the instructions include this gem:

"If you can specify our sections, please write the name of them in the cell of Questions/Comments." 

Which is followed by the clincher:

"You can't miss filling in * marked cells."  (Translation: "* = mandatory items")

Well, I certainly hope not!
Apr 4
Bad Translation: Tourism in Argentina
Today's Bad Translation comes to us courtesy of Region, a publisher in the Pampa region of Argentina.  The English version of the  website is cute.  The translation is good and fluid for the most part, but there are some real zingers and groaners in there.  For example, follow the link to "Touristic Activities" and you'll come to the description of "fishing game"--obviously meaning "fish and game".  There are too many fun mis-translations to include here.  I invite you to browse the site for yourself.  Visit all the pages.

OK, here's one fun example: "The tourist who arrive at La Pampa will notice other features which are not precisely the ones of a plain."

Technically, it appears that some of the pages are the result of machine translation without human editing.  Others appear to have been editied.  And some seem to be the products of a poorly prepared translator.  All in all, the site achieves its purpose of presenting the place and its attractions, and it does it in a very humble and approachable way, thanks to some bad translation.  Hmmm.  I wonder if there's a sociolinguistic ploy at work here.
Mar30
Where is Translation Headed?

For no particular reason I'm sitting here thinking about translation's ultimate destination.  Maybe these ponderings can serve as the catalyst for fruitful--or at least creative--conversation. 

Machine translation should eventually go the way of Big Blue, the chess-playing computer, and end up out-performing human translators.  It may be many years away, but things are heading that way.  On another track, I have to believe that the Internet will open the way to a new Mother Tongue--some common language (probably an invented language, though some think that English will take over) to fit the capacity of instantaneous, inexpensive, global communication.  Both tracks lead to a common end: no need for translators between modern languages.

Or am I dreaming?

Mar29
Good Translations: Concha y Toro Wines
I turn today to one of my favorite countries--Chile--to praise a truly admirable bilingual website: that of the Concha y Toro Wineries.  The content of the site is available in Spanish and in English and, while I've tried, I can't tell which came first.  One would think that the site was originally in Spanish, but there are features about it that suggest it caters to the English-speaking audience.

There's no dodging difficult translations.  Even industry-specific terminology and legal background are given fluidly in both languages.  And it's not just the static text that gets the royal treatment.  News items appear in both languages.

The only glitches are that attention is given to the text but not to the website structural elements, with "Hot News" and "Wine-e" appearing in English even on the Spanish version.  If the visitor reads only Spanish, he/she should find "Las últimas nuevas" or "Novedades" or some such title.  And  as for Wine-e, a suitable translation is required.
 And I don't even drink wine.
Mar24
How to Translate the "GO" Button in Spanish
I got a recent comment from Art to an earlier entry about translations of the "GO" button from English to Spanish on the Internet.  Specifically, he asks for "something short and direct" for "Go".  I wish it were a simple answer, but it isn't.  Still, I'll offer a solution that makes sense to me,  Then I'll muddy things up a bit.

"MARCHA"  What do you think?  Wouldn't "MARCHA" be a good translation?  I haven't seen it anywhere on the Web, but that's because, as I explained in the previous entry, it seems early Web translators were too tightly bound to the source language.

Now for the muddy part: "go" can be used in many, many senses in English.  The closest sense to the "GO" button is probably that conveyed in the race-starting sequence: ready-set-go!  On the little button, it usually means "begin".  In truth, "BEGIN" would make better sense than "GO" and would yield more easily to several variations on the Web, including "SEARCH" and "FIND" and "CONTINUE" and "START".  What the Web is aching for is an artistic weaning from the earliest vernacular, which was created by techies.  What we want is a few buttons that say "SEEK" and "FETCH" and "RETRIEVE", or maybe "MORE" and "EXPLORE" and "DISCOVER".  The Spanish equivalents, in spirit if not in sense, might be "DALE" and "RECOJA" and "MANDE".
Mar17
Bad Translations? Not in Norway
I have been browsing Norwegian web sites looking for bad translations into English.  Bo-ring!  They do it too well.  Better get back to the happy hunting ground for bad translations, further south.  The worst I could find was on the intriguing site of the Norwegian Aviation Museum in Bods, Norway.  Here and there you can find a misplaced apostrophe or an odd bit of phrasing, but it's hard to tell if it was written by a native speaker of English or not.  So it's hard to know if it was through ignorance--or just a typo--that you see a description of "bush flights in the desserts and jungles of West Africa".  West African desserts?  In a Norwegian museum?

My congratulations to the translators and web authors of Norway.  Your English gets an A.
Translating Out of Your Mother Tongue
A recent comment prompts me to write about the advisability of offering to translate out of your native language.  Carmen wrote: "I am interested in becoming a certified translator. Spanish to English and English into Spanish."  Short answer: don't do it. Professional services are careful to only employ translators who work into their native tongue.  Unless you are truly bilingual, unsure of which is your dominant language, it's a bad and dangerous idea to think that you can translate equally well in both directions.

Now to the other point in Carmen's comment.  I have already dealt with how to become a translator, and I guess I'll have to say more about opportunities for training and preparation.  I have also written about the false ideas surrounding the title "certified translator".  But I'll repeat a bit, to stay current.  Few organizations actually provide certification for translations via an examination or other test of qualifications.  There are some, and translators would do well to take their exams, when they feel ready.  But for the most part, "certified" translations are performed by non-certified translators who then prepare a statement that the work is correct to the best of their ability and get it notarized.  This "certifies" the translation for most official purposes.
Mar14
Bad Translations - VisitChile
This one was too easy to find, and too bad to ignore.  It's a wonder that translations can be so bad.  Any bilingual college student could have done better than the fractured English at www.VisitChile.cl, the website of a tour operator in Chile.  The rest of you take note; when crossing the cultural divide, enlist a guide from the target culture.  VisitChile has done themselves a disservice by publishing, for the world to see, evidence that they aren't prepared to deal well with English-speaking tourists.  Here are a few pieces of that evidence.

"Who we are?"
"We invite to visit with our packages."
Santiago is "the economic and cultural hearth of the nation."  (A hearth is a fireplace.  I think they meant 'heart'.)
The Best of Chilean and Argentian Patagonia 
(Argentinians, how do you say 'Argentian"?)

Oddly, the same site includes some polished translations of a nearly poetic level.

"Patagonia is the scene of the world's great adventures. Even if we know little of the place, the name itself inhabits our subconscious, whispering of an unknown finger of the earth."

Who did that part?  Get him back and ask him to re-do the rest.

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