Wednesday, August 09, 2006

chinglish technology

This is an ad for an electronic English/Chinese dictionary. They are very popular here but I have a personal suspicion of the things as I think they are the main cause of Chinglish (as previously discussed here Chinglish is the mutant language created when English is mashed up with Chinese syntax or inaccurately translated).

These electronic dictionaries and the common Chinese/English translation pc software mean anyone can translate easily with full technological confidence. Of course, translation is never that straightforward and the results are often rather bizarre as the software can be overly literal or offer some very idiosyncratic word choices; I've looked at research reports fed through this language technology and had to wonder whether a health brand's ability to 'prolong mortality' is a good or bad thing and question whether so many consumers are really buying a product for their 'concubines'. I often point out discrepancies to the translators and frequently am overruled, my protests that 'weald' does not mean guerilla marketing or the English call wasabi 'wasabi', not 'mustard' are ignored because the software says that is what it should be. What can i do? Technology's shiny newness just exudes authority. I, on the other hand, am just a foreigner with an obviously poor grip on her native language.

1 comment:

Rich said...

Spookily, that bloke looks a bit like a cross between your two old Kentish Town housemates... email me, BTW - got things to share with you now your all bloggah!