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32077Re: [Czechlist] Please recommend a rotten website

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  • James Kirchner
    Oct 13, 2006
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      On Oct 13, 2006, at 8:33 PM, Helga Listen wrote:

      > Within this whole discussion I am missing two points:
      > a) how can one localize, when not being a "local" of the target
      > language?!
      > AND how can clients, who may not even realize that there is a need to
      > localize, ask for a localized version of their text (and how can
      > they make
      > sure, that what they get, is localized, when they do not speak the
      > target
      > language)

      You get locals of the target language to do it for you. The CR is
      crawling with them. You don't even have to be that experienced, for
      example to see immediately that Czech spas' descriptions of their
      treatments sound Frankenstein-ish to the general anglophone populace,
      or to give suggestions as to what should replace them. As I
      mentioned, an inexperienced girl identified the problem immediately
      last night, so any kid bumming around the CR who speaks a little
      Czech could put his finger on it.

      > b) (probably) not only Czechs first need proof of the fact, that it
      > is worth
      > the investment (to pay "the horrendous amount" someone skilled and/or
      > trained in the use of languages AND a local of the target language,
      > and
      > maybe even "target area" with specialist knowledge in the specific
      > field of
      > the clients business).

      However, they are already paying big money to create repulsive,
      unintelligible sites that make English-speaking visitors want to stay
      away. It's ultimately cheaper to pay a reasonably intelligent
      English-speaking resident of the CR local wages as a consultant than
      it is to pay Czechs to create a page that drives away the customers
      it's supposed to attract.

      > Let us face it, none of us would pay for something, we are not
      > convinced
      > that we are receiving an "added value" from. And now tell me, how
      > you want
      > to proof that a localized and properly written text wins more
      > business (or
      > is more efficient) than the "ordinary" one.

      There's plenty of proof of that. Just do a web search on
      localization, and you'll find plenty of examples. You can even put
      the advertisement into the hands of some English-speaking tourists
      and watch them through a one-way mirror (just kidding) or going over
      it at their breakfast table. I've seen this actually happen a few
      times: Educated English speakers of the target demographic were
      guffawing over some badly translated promotional materials, and when
      the Czech client who actually commissioned them came, they told him
      politely that there are some very embarrassing problems with the
      materials. Instead of asking to have them pointed out, the Czech's
      usual reaction is to get defensive and say, "A Canadian went over the
      whole thing and said it was okay!" which in those cases is obviously
      a lie. Whether the Czech client is lying or whether some real
      Canadian diplomatically lied to him is hard to determine. But you
      would think that if a business owner walks in on native English
      speakers practically falling off their chairs laughing at his
      promotional materials, he'd see it as a free opportunity to improve
      his business.

      > (see Jamie's example with the
      > bank / the client is rather reluctant to trusting recommendations,
      > because
      > he does not see the "added value").

      That wasn't really the case. The sign was not made yet, and the
      translation was going to cost the client nothing. He wasn't worried
      about added value, but about the fact that the normal English way to
      word a sign clashed with his Czech linguistic sensibilities.

      > You also should not forget, that many clients do "kind of speak"
      > the target
      > language and they will simply protest, if they read a different
      > wording in
      > the translation. Quite often I hear "why did you not say bla bla
      > bla in your
      > translation, I wanted it exactly the way I wrote it, this does not
      > sound
      > right, you left a sentence here, you broke this sentence into
      > three, please,
      > stick exactly to the original, this is my business and I know how
      > to sell my
      > goods/services, you cannot say "agreement" when I called it
      > "contract", and
      > so on and so on.....

      If this results in materials that drive customers away or make the
      business owner look stupid, this sort of client deserves what he gets.

      > Of course, there are a few clients out there who know that, but the
      > big
      > crowd will learn this only after a very long time, or never (and
      > this is not
      > only true for the CR - I've never come across this attitude also in
      > industrialized countries).

      You never have, or you have?

      The results of this kind of attitude can be seen on some of the
      English-language pages of the Henkel company, although it's gotten
      better over the past couple of years. Their biggest problem is that
      they translated their slogan word for word from German to English,
      and some people laugh at it.

      Jamie
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