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Re: [Czechlist] Pasted legal language

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  • James Kirchner
    Thanks, Matej, this sounds right. Jamie ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 28, 2009
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      Thanks, Matej, this sounds right.

      Jamie

      On Jan 28, 2009, at 2:39 AM, Matej Klimes wrote:

      > I'd say that (could) be a valid approach to translating proverbs -
      > if you don't need the meaning in sentences around them, but tell the
      > agency to pay for a new translation - or a complete overhaul, which
      > usually takes the same if not more time tran translation..
      >
      > And the reason behind the mess could well be different (and I
      > woundn't blame the agency for not telling you) - they first got a
      > cheap inexperienced Eastern-European native translator to translate
      > the contract, which they did and it came out in broken English with
      > a slight shift in meaning. Then they got an English native editor
      > (who does not read the original language, or only does so to a
      > relatively small degree) to edit it. The editor just edited
      > everything that sounded weird into what they thought was being said
      > and bingo, the mystery is born...
      >
      > I think that's the most likely scenario. If a translator is good
      > enough in English to knwo and correctly use perfect legal phrases,
      > they are not very likely to confuse their meaning or fail to notice
      > they mean something else..
      >
      > M
      >
      > ----- Original Message -----
      > From: James Kirchner
      > To: Czechlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 4:02 AM
      > Subject: [Czechlist] Pasted legal language
      >
      > I've got a weird job, and I wonder if anyone on the list has ever
      > gotten anything like this:
      >
      > It's general contract for a company in Eastern Europe employing
      > freelancers. It has been translated into English, and then edited by
      > a British editor. The language is quite normal legal language, and I
      > have to examine it and change anything that's wrong.
      >
      > It appeared to me that the translation was of a newer version of the
      > contract than the original I'd been given, because almost all of the
      > additions, deletions and changes in meaning seemed to make some kind
      > of legal sense. This made me hesitate to correct them. Plus, it was
      > in impeccably written English.
      >
      > I expressed the problem to the agency client, and they explained what
      > had been done by their attorney and what had not. This put things in
      > a whole new light.
      >
      > Then it started to seem that the English translator or editor, instead
      > of translating what the contract said, found and used the closest
      > common English legal phrase he or she knew to what the original
      > language said, even if the standard phrase or sentence didn't mean the
      > same thing. So it's in beautiful legal English, but it's often wrong.
      >
      > For example, the original contract says that the supplier is liable
      > for damages caused by his subcontractor. The English version says
      > that the supplier and his subcontractor are "jointly and severally
      > liable", which sounds like standard contract language in English, but
      > it isn't a translation, and it isn't what the contract said in the
      > original language. There are lots of cases of this throughout the
      > translation.
      >
      > Has anyone run into that?
      >
      > This reminds me of some trouble I had with an inexperienced American
      > editor once who insisted that I use the English "equivalents" of Czech
      > proverbs, and didn't seem to care if the Czech proverb and the English
      > proverb had very different meanings. So, if the Czech proverb meant,
      > "Drink and be merry," and the English proverb meant, "Everyone wants
      > to kill his mother-in-law," he would insist they were equivalent if
      > both proverbs had rabbits in them, or something like that. That's an
      > exaggeration, but you get the idea.
      >
      > Jamie
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >



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