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Corona quarantine diary
ناشر الموضوع: Mervyn Henderson

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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Plane talk Nov 8, 2020

Aha. The ProZ Punmaster-General is always on duty and never sleeps, I see.

[Edited at 2020-11-08 07:20 GMT]


 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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Seriously, Bilbao? Nov 8, 2020

That's the title of a letter I'm going to write to local rag El Correo today or tomorrow. And I'll be leaving the title in Eeeengleeesh, too. I used to write to the press a lot, the local press mostly, but El País as well (they never published).

Most of the stuff I wrote was to the Basque-language daily Berria, and they published every letter I wrote, maybe a dozen of them. Someone called Mervyn Henderson writing in Basque is sure to get published by people striving for recognitio
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That's the title of a letter I'm going to write to local rag El Correo today or tomorrow. And I'll be leaving the title in Eeeengleeesh, too. I used to write to the press a lot, the local press mostly, but El País as well (they never published).

Most of the stuff I wrote was to the Basque-language daily Berria, and they published every letter I wrote, maybe a dozen of them. Someone called Mervyn Henderson writing in Basque is sure to get published by people striving for recognition of the language, naturally. I wrote to them in Basque about the exorbitant price of Rioja wine you get charged for bad-quality plonk (like everything else, Rioja has its qualities). I wrote to them in Basque about the difficulty I experienced getting my foreigners' ID card renewed, too. This involved an imaginary conversation between myself and the two National Police officers on the door, listening to me asserting my right to express myself in Basque (most of you can imagine the exchanges I had in there, and of course the Basques loved that).

I even wrote to them to ask them to stop whingeing about Franco all the time, to say that he won, they lost, and that maybe they should have done something about it at the time. I think I even went so far as to say that they're always banging on about how he stole their language from them, but nowadays nobody has "time" to learn it or brush it up, although it's completely legal now, and even encouraged by the Basque Government. No time, yes. But you have time to have a few "txikis" (a few glasses of el plonko) with your mates, right? It was the first and only time I got a reply to my letter. A man wrote in to say - because I had written that the Germans don't go on and on about Hitler, do they, they've moved on - that the Basques had never had closure, nobody had ever apologised, and Franco died in a hospital bed after almost 40 years of iron rule, and I suppose to a certain extent he was right. Although I like to think he got the point.

But I digress ...

This morning I saw a number of boards with photos of ballet dancers in gaudy tutus, in various poses around Bilbao - a girl standing on one toe opposite the Guggenheim Museum, another with her leg up above her head with Louise Bourgeois' La Araña sculpture in the background, all lovely stuff. I stopped at the last board. A triptych with a synopsis in Basque to the left, Spanish in the middle, and English to the right. Yes, you know what's coming, don't you ...?

I read "... artistic expression ... blah-blah-blah ... after the goal of French photographer je ne sais plus qui ..."

"After the goal"? Got to check that one out against the Spanish, which read "tras el objetivo del fotógrafo francés ..."

Well, "objetivo" can mean goal or objective, but not here, Bilbao. Here it means the "lens" of a camera. And even "tras" - well, that can mean "after" or "behind". Which do you think it means here? I'll give you a clue - it doesn't frigging mean "after". Sniff, sniff. What's that smell? Sniff, sniff. Oh yes, I know what that smell is. It's bullshit. The Google Translate variety, too, I'd say.

Why would you ever culminate a beautiful thing like that with Google Translate? Why don't you check these things? Long is the shadow of London's Linguistic Avenger. The scenario might be a little different, but I just can't have it this time. Good job they didn't have "potatoe's" in there.

I'll keep you posted. Maybe they won't even publish it. It'll be in Spanish this time, because it's El Correo, and my Basque really isn't up to it these days.





[Edited at 2020-11-08 18:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-11-08 18:15 GMT]
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Chris S
P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
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KISS Nov 8, 2020

Mervyn Henderson wrote:
I'd never heard of Simplified Technical English. But it seems to make sense.

It does until you get to the examples:

TURN THE COVER UNTIL YOU CAN GET ACCESS TO THE JACK THAT HAVE “+” AND “-“ MARKS

Hmmm.

I do love a complex sentence in private, but I definitely prefer Plain English (simple, short, active) when working. Why make life complicated?

It’s so good to get a simply, clearly, carefully, intelligently written text when translating. The dictation flows so smoothly it hardly needs editing. The end-product is better and it’s all so much quicker. Ker-ching.

They don’t come along often. Sadly they don’t have Plain English as a thing in Sweden. Partly because they tend to write in Swedish. So it would have to be enkel svenska. Svenkelska, perhaps. I should copyright that.

But also because Swedish is so very simple to start with. It’s like how a ten-year-old would write, and with the vocabulary of a Sun reader. Which ought to help the translator but can actually result in a lot of ambiguity and literally numb your mind with the endless repetition. And don’t get me started on the total absence of pronouns in formal writing, or the insistence on avoiding a logical structure at all costs (why bother with an introduction or a conclusion when you could just write a random shopping list that’s not even divided into fresh, baked, tins and frozen?).

I do economics. There, either things go up or they go down. That’s all they ever do and so that’s all you ever have to translate. Ideal target for plain writing? You’d think so. Until you read it in Swedish, and the verb öka is used in 17 successive sentences. That’s when you come to appreciate the richness of a language where things can not only increase but rise, soar, climb, rocket, grow, expand, balloon, take off, snowball, spurt, mount, go up, tick up, edge up, shoot up, gain, accumulate and so on - and that’s before you get onto the really colourful, idiomatic stuff, the Mervynisms if you like.

So, to cut a long story short, the ideal language is both plain and rich...😳

None of which has anything to do with Covid, but more on that tomorrow.


P.L.F.Persio
Mervyn Henderson
expressisverbis
Matthias Brombach
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 

expressisverbis
البرتغال
Local time: 12:42
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It's getting ugly... Nov 8, 2020

Portuguese will not be able to leave their homes between 1 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the next two weekends, on both Saturday and Sunday.
As for the overnight curfew, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., it will come into force across 121 municipalities, including Lisbon and Porto.
It seems in Portuguese we don't have a "controlled language", but we have a "controlled people".
How nice it would be in the next coming weekends to put up with Brazilian and Portuguese neighbours!
Well, it wil
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Portuguese will not be able to leave their homes between 1 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the next two weekends, on both Saturday and Sunday.
As for the overnight curfew, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., it will come into force across 121 municipalities, including Lisbon and Porto.
It seems in Portuguese we don't have a "controlled language", but we have a "controlled people".
How nice it would be in the next coming weekends to put up with Brazilian and Portuguese neighbours!
Well, it will be just a 15-day state of emergency with a "double curfew"... coronavirus will soon go away... and me too!
In plain Portuguese: "que carago"!
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Chris S
Mervyn Henderson
P.L.F.Persio
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
أسبانيا
Local time: 13:42
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Investments may go down as well as up Nov 8, 2020

Too right. And then there's the downside: fall, plunge, dive ... etc. Not just "go down", "decrease".

Let's hope the Royal Svenska Language Academy isn't peeking in here at what you say.


expressisverbis
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
أسبانيا
Local time: 13:42
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1 pm to 5 am in Portugal? Nov 8, 2020

Those are tough measures. But necessary, I imagine.

expressisverbis
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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Alea jacta est Nov 8, 2020

Well, I wrote my outraged letter, and sent it too. I was going to sign it The Linguistic Avenger, but desisted at the last moment. I was also going to go into all kinds of contrived stuff, but the last thing I want to do is get the Spanish wrong! So I just asked why they would do such a thing. And I also told them that the name of the photographer concerned, one Laurent Léger, has an accent on the E, just like Salvador Dalí has an accent on the I. Tom will be proud of me, I know. But he'll nev... See more
Well, I wrote my outraged letter, and sent it too. I was going to sign it The Linguistic Avenger, but desisted at the last moment. I was also going to go into all kinds of contrived stuff, but the last thing I want to do is get the Spanish wrong! So I just asked why they would do such a thing. And I also told them that the name of the photographer concerned, one Laurent Léger, has an accent on the E, just like Salvador Dalí has an accent on the I. Tom will be proud of me, I know. But he'll never say so.Collapse


expressisverbis
Chris S
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
P.L.F.Persio
Kay Denney
 

expressisverbis
البرتغال
Local time: 12:42
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Weekends only Nov 8, 2020

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Those are tough measures. But necessary, I imagine.


Between 1 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the next weekends only. Let's see if they don't extend it.
We started to use private hospitals, because public hospitals can't handle it anymore.
Field hospitals as well as tents are in place too.
The scenario has completely changed now compared to March.


Mervyn Henderson
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
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STE – Swedish Technical English Nov 8, 2020

Chris's comments about Swedish came at a most appropriate time, as I'm desperately fighting my way through an installation guide for some heating/cooling device written in Sweden in what is supposed to be English. It brings back fond memories of Officer Crabtree and Inspector Clouseau.

In a previous document they had used the word 'leader' to mean an electrical conductor since the Swedish word is 'ledare'.

I need a break.


Mervyn Henderson
expressisverbis
Chris S
Matthias Brombach
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
P.L.F.Persio
 

expressisverbis
البرتغال
Local time: 12:42
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You're not the only one... Nov 8, 2020

I am struggling against legal Belgian French: "Il est incontesté et incontestable"... I need to put this in plain Portuguese.
I won't ask the question in Kudoz Help, it's no use.
Yesterday, I read something that I consider a real joke!
This is the consequence of translating to a non-native language, not to mention the fact of opportunistic and dishonest behaviour.
I'm sorry, today "I woke up with my feet outside the bed" (‘wake up angry)!


Chris S
P.L.F.Persio
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
أسبانيا
Local time: 13:42
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Incontesté et incontestable Nov 8, 2020

Surely there must simply be the same device in Portuguese, incontestao e incontestivil, something like that? Give it straight back to them ...

expressisverbis
Thomas T. Frost
 

expressisverbis
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Obrigada :) Nov 8, 2020

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Surely there must simply be the same device in Portuguese, incontestao e incontestivil, something like that? Give it straight back to them ...


I tried that Mervyn, but I don't like how it sounds, it is not a conventional expression ("incontestado e incontestável"). "We can't deny that Mr. X has been a good father..."
I will see the better way to put this when reading the translation.


Mervyn Henderson
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
P.L.F.Persio
 

expressisverbis
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"Ledare" Nov 8, 2020

I found "incontesté et incontestable" in an EU document, so be it, I'm not happy with that expression...
Forgive me, I can't help in Swedish, German, Danish... it's all Greek to me.
I also feel a little "déconnectée de la réalité" ( disconnected from reality?).
"Ledare" sounds Latin to me, but this word doesn't exist in Latin ("lidar", "líder", "condutor"), and it reminds me the Ikea lamps!


P.L.F.Persio
Mervyn Henderson
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
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I’m free! Nov 9, 2020

And in a Roger Daltrey way, not a John Inman way. (Apologies to those who are not British and middle-aged; you could easily research it if you really wanted to, but I wouldn’t bother.)

Yes, I’m free. We’re all free. Well, relatively. Today Wales emerges from its second lockdown just as everyone else is going into theirs. And you know what, nothing has changed. It’s still raining. The virus is still out there giving most people dangerously mild symptoms, and we’re still hav
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And in a Roger Daltrey way, not a John Inman way. (Apologies to those who are not British and middle-aged; you could easily research it if you really wanted to, but I wouldn’t bother.)

Yes, I’m free. We’re all free. Well, relatively. Today Wales emerges from its second lockdown just as everyone else is going into theirs. And you know what, nothing has changed. It’s still raining. The virus is still out there giving most people dangerously mild symptoms, and we’re still having to fuck around in masks in the supermarket.

This might be controversial here, judging by the thread’s regular clientele, but ffs I don’t know a single person in real life who agrees with the lockdown policy. I don’t know a single one who adhered to the rules this second time. (Except, oddly, me.)

Will someone please explain this. If the first lockdown was necessary to stop hospitals being overwhelmed, and not a complete overreaction, shouldn’t hospitals have been full (but not over-full) of Covid patients all summer? Fact is, they were nearly empty and they still are.

From the very beginning, I’ve been saying “protect the vulnerable, infect the rest”. It makes more sense to me, and to a growing number of experts it seems. It also appears to be what’s gradually happening in reality, apart from the “protect the vulnerable” bit.

And on that bombshell, it’s time for me to go full Jeremy Clarkson and go burn some rubber. I’m outta here. Toodles.
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P.L.F.Persio
expressisverbis
Mervyn Henderson
Rachel Fell
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
أسبانيا
Local time: 13:42
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Just the supermarket? Nov 9, 2020

Lucky Welsh. We have to wear ours all the time outside the confines of home. Except when you're eating or drinking something in a bar, but then there's none of that until the end of the month. And the last time I was in a bar I approached the counter to ask for something else after we'd ordered a few drinks with the masks on, but the man sent me straight back to my seat for the mask before I'd even got up close. And you're allowed to take off the mask when you're smoking, evidently, except you'r... See more
Lucky Welsh. We have to wear ours all the time outside the confines of home. Except when you're eating or drinking something in a bar, but then there's none of that until the end of the month. And the last time I was in a bar I approached the counter to ask for something else after we'd ordered a few drinks with the masks on, but the man sent me straight back to my seat for the mask before I'd even got up close. And you're allowed to take off the mask when you're smoking, evidently, except you're not allowed to smoke near other people, gap of 2 metres required, I think it is. So you see a lot of people puffing on a ciggie, standing off the pavement between two parked cars.Collapse


expressisverbis
Chris S
 
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