Friday, February 22, 2008

Lost when Translating

Sometimes my boss asks me to do little favours other than teaching the wee children. I never really mind. I dig co-operation. For the past couple days she's been struggling to translate some academic outline her sister - a Professor in Japan, had asked for help with. My boss was really struggling with the Korean content of the outline, so she decided to use some sort of translation program and then pass it on to me to try and sort out. Let's see if you can make sense of this:

"The case 21th century international order dog and Korea Peninsula are reunited, that intend national interests of Japan as relation with surrounding power, culture general situation of globalization open inside there is subject that knowledge necessary to understand fishery agreement and Tokto Island, pressing issue between Korea and Japan such as Yaseukunisinse worship and politics of Japan that is the residing in Japan South Korea is filled."

Mmmm'kay, then!
I think I read that about ten times just to make sure it didn't make any sense. Here's another passage:

"Current question comprehensive faculty of text contents of teaching material that study during estimation one term by attendance results scorebook and current question comprehensive faculty of text contents that learn sentence creation ability test seven weeks and sentence creation ability test given concreteness of assignment contents and logical description ability assessment."

It's painful, isn't it?

My boss wasn't very helpful either. In order to help me out, she stood over me and dragged her finger along the nonsensical run-on sentences while reading them aloud for me.

"You're not helping me, Karen. I actually CAN read, you know!"
I finally asked her to try to explain to me what was written in Korean line by line and I worked out something that I hope sounded sort of academic and somewhat coherent. I don't think it's going to matter much. Karen explained that the Japanese faculty that the outline is going to be presented to isn't going to be able to understand the English portion, and there's no possible way that my boss's sister would be able to fake that she had written it either.

"So, uh, this is really just a frustrating waste of time, isn't it?" I asked Karen.
She laughed and told me I was exactly right, and then pushed my pencil-holding hand down toward the paper, "But do it!"


Joe in Korea said...

I think the abstracts of published work has to be in English. My wife and I have worked our way through a number of them for friends. Perhaps that is what it was.

Those online translators are funny. I especially like it when students turn in essays that look like that.

Good luck.

Jelly said...

Thanks Joe!