Eye halve a spelling chequer

We all know that using a spellchecker isn’t sufficient.  This poem by Anonymous really brings it home:

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plain lee marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye ran this poem threw it
I’m shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

-Sauce unknown

MT Humor: “The Head of Telecommunications Holding Secret”

Google Translator

I love Google. Really, I do. I have been a gmail subscriber for years, I’ve been using their search engine for as long as I can remember, I love their maps and other features, and then I occasionally try their "Translator", just to see if I’ll be out of work soon. Well, I’m happy to say, at least it won’t be Google who will take my job. Today, I pasted in part of an article on e-mail privacy at the workplace from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to see what would happen with the English translation. Here goes.

"Actually holds: In particular, private e-mails relate to the personal sphere of life and are the general personality right eyes against third parties. The employer must, therefore, generally not to such e-mail access. He recognizes that one of his open e-mail is private, it must be immediately closed. Is the private mail allowed, must also be the head of the telecommunications holding secret, which in Article 10 of the Basic Law guaranteed. Legally, he would then be a sort Telecom, a service provider within the meaning of the Telecommunications Act (TKG), say some lawyers. This applies even if the employer provides the technical performance does not even offer."

Got it? No? Well, I didn’t either. What intrigued me, though, were the "right eyes". Were my eyes wrong?  What was wrong with my eyes? I didn’t get it. Well, I had to find out. In the original text, the "right to protection of one’s individual sphere of life" (allgemeines Persönlichkeitsrecht) "protects" (this word was omitted in the translation) "third parties from viewing" (Blicke Dritter) private messages. Ah, I can see clearly now…

And what was "must also be the head of the telecommunications holding secret"? The head of a secret? That sounded fascinating. But, oh, the disappointment when I saw what was really meant: The boss must adhere to the German Telecommunications Act. Plain and simple. So he is not really the "head of the secret." Less exciting than I thought. Mystery solved.

Besides these obvious errors, the program does not seem to be able to rearrange the syntax in any way. Sentences most to understand need syntax we. Don’t we?

File Received – Common Courtesy

As a freelance translator sitting far away in the high desert of northern New Mexico, I want to do everything I can to scoot a little closer to my clients in Cyberspace, and to make sure there’s clear communication about everything that concerns a project.

One of the simplest and most important tools of communication is "File received, thanks!" For me, it’s something I now do instinctively, and most of my clients confirm receipt as well. But there are a few clients where I feel I am shooting my files into the great void after completion of a project, until I ask for confirmation, or my check arrives a few weeks later and I know things worked out.

File Received – Two words for peace of mind.

Editing: Outsmarting the Brain’s Wite-Out Feature

It doesn’t happen very often, but the other day, a good client cautioned me that my translation would go straight to the client because of time constraints. The usual "do your best and self-edit" followed. Well, don’t I always do my best and self-edit before delivering, even if there’s an editor who looks at my translation? Of course, but in these cases I do want to add another round of proofing to my procedure to outsmart what I call my brain’s wite-out feature. I was reminded of this when I read a blogpost called Edit Thyself in the New York Times.

"One is the downside of our brain’s highly developed “autocorrect” function. Dropped and extraneous words are frequently overlooked, because we automatically ‘see’ what we think we should be seeing. Some editors have tricks to try to overcome this tendency, such as proofreading with all but one line of type covered at a time. This forces you to slow down and see what’s really there, not what your brain expects to find."

To increase my chances of finding my own errors, I generally:

  1. Avoid proofreading immediately after I’ve finished a translation
  2. Look at those segments first I translated at the end of the day
  3. Print out a copy if I think I need a “fresh” look at things
  4. Proofread in the morning when my brain hasn’t already been bombarded with thousands of words

What I haven’t tried yet but will is using a Text-to-Speech program, such as TextAloud by NextUp http://www.nextup.com/TextAloud/ Perhaps someone has had some experience they would like to share?