22 June 2017

Transcreating technical journalism, conference presentation

On Saturday 17 June, I at spoke at the TransLisboa 2017 conference organised by Aptrad. My presentation was entitled 
Transcreating technical journalism.

The Word and PowerPoint files that I used in my talk area available on request.

13 June 2017

Multiple qualifiers

Despite the fact that long strings of qualifiers are frowned upon by style guides, they are widely used, especially in technical writing and journalism for the simple reason that they offer a handy solution to a frequent problem, namely the clear, extended, multi-dimensional qualification of technical terms.

The challenges raised by how to order qualifiers probably explains why OSASCOMP: Applied analysis is by far the most frequently consulted post on this blog.

Many who have blogged, posted and tweeted on this, including me (see OSASCOMP in the news and OSASCOMP in the news), have failed to stress sufficiently that OSASCOMP only applies to unpunctuated strings of adjectives.

In Hysteria over hyphens, Johnson points out:
English is a Germanic language that allows for many different kinds of compounds, including those made from two adjectives (“blue-green”), two nouns (“kitchen sink”), adjective-noun (“darkroom”), noun-adjective (“slate-blue”) and so on. But which ones should be written separately, which hyphenated and which closed up?
To this I would add "And in what order should they be arranged where multiple qualifiers with different grammatical categories occur in combination?"

Johnson adds (my bold):
A bestselling guide to punctuation was subtitled “The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation”. Punctuation pros sniggered. The Economist, like most other publications, would require a hyphen (“Zero-Tolerance”) here.
This hyphen is starkly different from the one in “arch-rival”. It has a critical grammatical function, not just a stylistic one. It tells the readers that several words are to be taken together as a single modifier. You can write “we have zero tolerance for bad punctuation,” but when “zero tolerance” is used to modify a noun, it acts a bit like an adjective. It does not become an adjective, as many people think. But taken together, as a modifier, “zero-tolerance” functions like a single word; hence the hyphen.
Reading means parsing grammar on the fly, a tricky task requiring concentration. Everything that helps with that does a favour to the reader. Strings of words with no punctuation can often be parsed in several ways. The hyphen eliminates one possibility. This not only speeds up comprehension, but in some (rare) cases, is crucial for avoiding ambiguity.
I have written repeatedly on OSASCOMP and multiple qualifiers, and will no doubt come back to the topic again and again, given that many challenges remain. Still, Hysteria over hyphens definitely takes us a few steps forward.

A helping hand from Johnson

Following the publication of Hysteria over hyphens by the incomparable Johnson, I posted this comment:
As a French-to-English translator freelancing for the French naval defence industry, I have long been bothered by the ambiguity of terms using "amphibious assault" as a qualifier. For some, "amphibious assault ship" presumably conjures up the comical image of a ship moving up a beach and across the dunes ... For the first time, Johnson has made clear the reason for the ambiguity and the solution. So, despite the fact that I have never seen "amphibious-assault" as a hyphenated qualifier in any naval document that has come my way, I have resolved, from today, to adopt it. Many thanks.
I then updated my translation archives by replacing the qualifier "amphibious assault" by "amphibious-assault" to help me remember today's resolution.

While the point of punctuation is relatively minor, I allowed myself to be misled by naval journalists and writers that I usually consider worthy of emulation (cf. Translation by emulation, take #1). It took me decades to discover my mistake, but at least I found it. Thank you, once again, Johnson!

06 April 2017

Transcreation, examples from an online newsletter, #5

Compare:
French:  Triton : Le nouveau navire du DRASSM
English: H2X delivers archaeological research boat

The original focuses on the organisation (DRASSM), its activities and its vessels.
The English focuses on the organisation's activities and the types of vessels it operates while highlighting the boatbuilder's openness to the client's highly specialised needs.

Transcreation: Different readership, different approach.

I will be discussing how and why I do all this at the following conference in Lisbon on 17 June.

Associação Profissional e Universidade, juntas pela tradução!
A APTRAD vai organizar em parceria com a FCSH/NOVA de Lisboa (obrigada David William Hardisty) um evento de tradução para os seus associados, alunos de tradução e não só!. Será um evento, de partilha de experiências e conhecimentos, de profissionais para profissionais (e alunos), limitado a um número máximo de participantes.
O que significa isto?
Significa que os oradores deste evento serão os associados da Aptrad, os professores, os alunos e todos os profissionais que estejam disponíveis para fazer parte do painel de oradores do evento.
Querem participar? O desafio está lançado. Inscrevam-se como oradores enviando para o email: formacao@aptrad.pt a vossa proposta (título e pequena descrição da sessão a apresentar).
Local: Lisboa FCSH/NOVA
Data: 17 Junho 2017 das 09.00 às 17.00
Tema: "Como reforçar a importância do tradutor humano na indústria da tradução?"
Vamos fazer deste um evento inesquecível!

M&M Maritime News, April issue

The April issue of Mer et Marine's monthly Maritime News is now online. Subscribers received the following email version.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 edition

Lacroix: In the confidential world of decoys

They are often considered the final bastion against missiles. Since the appearance of this kind of weapon in naval combat nearly 50 years ago, decoys have evolved in keeping pace with the ever-increasing sophistication of missile technology by deploying new tactics to...

DCNS tests augmented reality

French naval shipbuilder DCNS is testing the benefits of augmented reality for warship design, construction and maintenance.Augmented reality offers a real-time view of the user’s surroundings enhanced with computer-generated information. The technology has now advanced...

Gowind, from concept to reality

The first DCNS-designed and -built Gowind 2500 corvette recently completed its first sea trials, a big step towards ‘sea-proven’ status.On Friday 17 March, the first Gowind 2500 corvette designed by French naval shipbuilder DCNS and built at the group’s Lorient yard...

Brittany Ferries: now with French scrubbers

To ensure compliance with the latest standards, six Brittany Ferries’ vessels have been fitted with scrubbers, three of them designed and produced in France.Sulphur oxides (SOx) in a ship’s exhaust gases can be removed by cleaning systems commonly referred to as...

Sirius, a multi-purpose service vessel for Belgium

French shipbuilder Socarenam has delivered a multi-role service vessel to Belgian group DAB Vloot for a range of harbour and coastal duties.Buoy laying, hydrographic surveys, pilot transfers, assistance to vessels in distress, firefighting and more. The Sirius is a truly...

H2X delivers archaeological research boat

The Triton is a special-purpose boat built by H2X for a French organisation specialising in underwater archaeology.In December 2016, DRASSM* took delivery of the Triton, its latest archaeological research vessel. In addition to its overall responsibility for France’s...
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Please note that the article on Etienne Lacroix was produced by the company.

Please note also that I have informed the CMF that their message "Towards the Blue Growth" desperately needs to be first withdrawn, then rewritten by an English-speaking specialist.
A reasonable retranslation back into French might read:
Vers l'excroissance bleue.

The other articles were translated and adapted, or transcreated, by me.
Comments and feedback welcome.

16 March 2017

Oxford comma court case

Language circles are buzzing with articles and comments on a recent court case in the USA that was decided on the basis of punctuation and more specifically the use of the so-called Oxford comma. See, for example, An Oxford comma changed this court case by AJ Willingham, CNN (updated 16 March 2017) or
Oxford comma helps drivers win dispute about overtime pay
by Elena Cresci.

One of my high school English teachers, a Welshman named Jones would you believe, often said that this was bound to happen one day. So, Mr Jones, it looks like that day has come.

What I found astounding is that many Americans who write about this and similar topics seek categorical black & white rules. A J Willingham ends her article saying:
(All of you Oxford comma purists out there, go ahead and gloat. We'll have you know CNN adheres by AP Style, which does not include the mark.)
So the Chicago Style Manual says use it, always, while AP Style "does not use the mark".

I prefer to do what Mr Jones used to do, namely use it when you, or your readers, need it and don't when you don't. What's the matter with old-fashioned logic and hard thinking?

Elena Cresci's article includes the following.
The Guardian style guide has the following to say about Oxford commas: a comma before the final “and” in lists: straightforward ones (he ate ham, eggs and chips) do not need one, but sometimes it can help the reader (he ate cereal, kippers, bacon, eggs, toast and marmalade, and tea).
Sometimes it is essential: compare
I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis, and J K Rowling.
with
I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis and J K Rowling.
Precisely the approach I recommend and try to use.

25 April 2017

Under the heading The ambiguous Oxford comma, Sentence first -- an Irishman's blog about the English language -- also prefers analysis to dogma.

07 March 2017

Transcreation, examples from an online newsletter, #4

Compare:
French: Un projet de ferry à hydrogène pour les îles du Ponant
English: Nøé: Barillec’s zero emissions vessel

The original focuses on the technology and the ferry service that will use it.
The English focuses on the companies and the aim of the new technology.

Transcreation: Different readership, different approach.

Transcreating technical journalism, conference presentation

On Saturday 17 June, I at spoke at the TransLisboa 2017 conference organised by Aptrad . My presentation was entitled  Transcreating techn...