Translation WTF



  • My father's a translator. He takes technical texts in English and translates them to French. Recently he was working on a text for a big American company (a few thousand employees).

    Whenever he finds something he doesn't know the meaning of, and can't find the meaning of, he asks the company, and then finds the most suitable way to express it in French. These terms usually boils down to obscure acronyms used only internally to the company. Up to now, everything's been fine.

    But in this text for said huge company -- there was something. In a procedure title, the acronym "PSAT" was used. Unable to find the meaning, my father emailed its contractor. He said he wasn't sure, and he'd ask the responsible team. This morning, my father received the answer: there's no one in the department who could say what PSAT meant. In a friggin procedure title, there was a term NO ONE could identify.




  • This reminds me of an old xkcd comic



  •  Acronymfinder has some

    Other than that, yes, it's frustrating.

     



  • @menta said:

    xkcd

    This reminds me of an old Hollywood movie in which one character creates in incision in another character's jugular vein. Except that in my memory the latter is named "menta" and this is done because he uttered a meaningless, four-lettre acronym that starts with 'x'.

    Anyway, what does English as a national language have to do with translating acronyms?



  • I'm embarrassed to admit I have a WTF like this in my own, current maintained code.

    The problem arose with defined constants that are used to locate parts of a filesystem. For example, if you want to perform an operation on "foo/bar.txt", you first have to *find* "foo/bar.txt". If the directory 'foo' doesn't exist, it's a failure regardless of *why* you wanted to find "foo/bar.txt". If you wanted to create 'bar.txt' it's a failure if it exists. If you wanted to read it, it's a failure if it does not exist. If you want to write it, it's a failure if it's read-only. If you want to read it, it's not.

    So there are a set of parameters that control how you do the find. One of them is 'find for create'. One of them is 'find for write', which will cause the operation to fail if the file is read-only (which makes no sense if it was a find for read), and so on.

    Anyway, while coding this list of find options, I discovered that another chunk of code had the same set of options. It seemed completely pointless to have two sets of options for the same choices, so I simply used the original options. They had names like 'FBSP_READONLY' (okay if file cannot be modified) and 'FBSP_CREATEOK' (okay if file must be created), 'FBSP_WRITE' (we must write to the file, fail if we can't), 'FBSP_DIRONLY' (fail if it's a file, our operation is only legal on a directory). At the time, this was because they were intended to be part of the FBSP layer.

    Unfortunately, the FBSP layer never got implemented. I have no recollection of what it was even supposed to be. It just happened to have exactly the set of options that the new code needed. So throughout this actively-developed code are references to 'FBSP_*' constants and functions that manipulate those constants with names like 'FBSPString' and 'GenFBSPVal'. And nobody has any idea what FBSP stands for.

    I'm pretty sure the 'F' stood for find. Maybe 'S' was stream (Because it was originally intended to be used to locate streams and only extended to files and directories later?) and 'P' parameters (since it's the parameters used for the find?)? That just leaves the 'B' a total mystery.



  • @AltSysrq said:

    Anyway, what does English as a national language have to do with translating acronyms?
    Since when do trolls need a reason? Now stop feeding it, please.



  • @Felix C. said:

    But in this text for said huge company -- there was something. In a procedure title, the acronym "PSAT" was used. Unable to find the meaning, my father emailed its contractor. He said he wasn't sure, and he'd ask the responsible team. This morning, my father received the answer: there's no one in the department who could say what PSAT meant. In a friggin procedure title, there was a term NO ONE could identify.

    In the context of translations, I find it funny when translators insist on translating technical acronyms. Things like "ISDN", "FTP", "TCP/IP" and "DSL" shouldn't really be changed, and while some of these are respected, some aren't.

    I found it amusing to read an article some time ago on some Spain-based magazine. I was wondering what that fancy-looking RDSI line was all about. It wasn't until I was halfway through that article that I found that RDSI stands for "Red Digital de Servicios Integrados" (Integrated Services Digital Network). I'm pretty sure there will be a fair amount of IT workers in Spain that will give a blank face when told about ISDN. I've seen other examples, but I don't remember them. Hey, at least "PPP" is immune from acronym translation!



  •  @danixdefcon5 said:

    In the context of translations, I find it funny when translators insist on translating technical acronyms. Things like "ISDN", "FTP", "TCP/IP" and "DSL" shouldn't really be changed, and while some of these are respected, some aren't.

    I agree, everybody knows that DSL stands for  Angelina Jolie :)



  • @AltSysrq said:

    @menta said:

    xkcd

    This reminds me of an old Hollywood movie in which one character creates in incision in another character's jugular vein. Except that in my memory the latter is named "menta" and this is done because he uttered a meaningless, four-lettre acronym that starts with 'x'.

    Anyway, what does English as a national language have to do with translating acronyms?

     

    I apologize for derailing the thread, but... http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/39885



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    In the context of translations, I find it funny when translators insist on translating technical acronyms. Things like "ISDN", "FTP", "TCP/IP" and "DSL" shouldn't really be changed, and while some of these are respected, some aren't.

    I found it amusing to read an article some time ago on some Spain-based magazine. I was wondering what that fancy-looking RDSI line was all about. It wasn't until I was halfway through that article that I found that RDSI stands for "Red Digital de Servicios Integrados" (Integrated Services Digital Network). I'm pretty sure there will be a fair amount of IT workers in Spain that will give a blank face when told about ISDN. I've seen other examples, but I don't remember them. Hey, at least "PPP" is immune from acronym translation!

    Terms that must remain untranslated usually refer to a name. Transfer Control Protocol names precisely a standard that is known by its name; while light-emitting diodes, for instance, refers to a generic class of materials that can emit light, as their name states.
    While I'd understand anyone saying "une LED" ("a LED" in French), I'd prefer them to call it a DEL (diode électroluminescente), especially in an official document. Not translating a term that has a perfect equivalent just shows your translantor's a lazy bastard.

    I'm perfectly fine with keeping terms for names of specific conventions/norms/standards. In fact, my eyes bleed whenever I see pseudocode written in French, with "si" instead of "if" and "tant que" instead of "while", because it's a convention that programming languages have English terms. It's also common knowledge that every time someone tries to translate something like HTTP, God kills a kitten. But seriously, there are things you should translate, too.

    But to know if you're better to translate it or not, you have to know what it means first. Right?



  • @amischiefr said:

    I agree, everybody knows that DSL stands for Angelina Jolie :)

    QFT.



  •  And speaking of "everyone needs to speak english" (which nobody mentioned except xkcd really).. when do I get to stop writing BGCOLOR in my HTML and XML into the far more appropriate BGCOLOUR ?



  • @wildkard said:

     And speaking of "everyone needs to speak english" (which nobody mentioned except xkcd really).. when do I get to stop writing BGCOLOR in my HTML and XML into the far more appropriate BGCOLOUR ?

    You wouldn't believe the amount of time I spent trying to get DHTML behaviours to work untill I found out that it was my spelling that was coloured.



  • I'm pretty sure the 'F' stood for find. Maybe 'S' was stream (Because it was originally intended to be used to locate streams and only extended to files and directories later?) and 'P' parameters (since it's the parameters used for the find?)? That just leaves the 'B' a total mystery.

    How about "Find Binary System Parameters"?
    Maybe "File Bit System Parameters" or "Find Bitchin' Stream Parameters"

    If it's non used code just cluttering up the codebase you could have renamed it.



  • @Felix C. said:

    the acronym "PSAT" was used.
    Did anybody consider that this might have been just a simple typo?



  • Find BS Parameters?



  • Hmm... maybe they didn't implement the FBSP Layer someone discovered what BS actually stood for and they didn't want another Layer of BS in the system?



  • In Dutch, the document type "Cascading Style Sheet" is translated as "Document met trapsgewijs opmaakmodel"(). Which kinda fits(*), but just leaves you confused when you encounter it for the first time.

     (*) Which, translated literally, translates back to something like "document with staircased formatting model".

    (**) It doesn't fit entirely because the style sheet is not a document by itself, but rather specifies the formatting model for another document.

     Bottom line: they shouldn't have translated it.



  • @RiX0R said:

    In Dutch, the document type "Cascading Style Sheet" is translated as "Document met trapsgewijs opmaakmodel"(). Which kinda fits(*), but just leaves you confused when you encounter it for the first time.

     (*) Which, translated literally, translates back to something like "document with staircased formatting model".

    (**) It doesn't fit entirely because the style sheet is not a document by itself, but rather specifies the formatting model for another document.

     Bottom line: they shouldn't have translated it.

     

    Once, I translated the default DOM API to Dutch. It was absolutely horrible and I vowed never to do such a thing again.


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