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genitive into English

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  • James Kirchner
    A couple days ago I was given a website to proofread, much of which will now have to be extensively rewritten. The problem is that some of the pages were
    Message 1 of 34 , Oct 12, 2011
      A couple days ago I was given a website to proofread, much of which will now have to be extensively rewritten.

      The problem is that some of the pages were translated competently, but the rest were translated into English either by a Czech or by a native English speaker who has gone too native in the Czech Republic. A lot of the text clumsily adheres to the original verbose Czech style of prose (very inappropriate for English readers). There are places where the person either never knew or has forgotten how to say certain things idiomatically, and then there's that very annoying mistake of putting the brand name AFTER the generic noun for the product ("cosmetics Avon", "cars Mercedes", "soap Palmolive", etc., VERY bad!).

      However, the most consistent problem -- and I run into this a lot -- is that the translator seems to have no idea how to translate Czech genitive constructions into English. The text is full of long, long strings held together by "of the...of the...of the...of the...", where English would either create compounds or use the possessive.

      I understand how a non-native English speaker would have some trouble knowing when to form compound words (meaning those with no space and no hyphen, or a space or a hyphen) in English, but it mystifies me that I so often see texts by translators who seem to have mastered almost every English grammatical construction but never, ever use the possessive.

      I have noticed in teaching ESL classes that the most advanced students can use all kinds of difficult verb tenses but still not have learned to use the possessive. They'll either use the bare noun or an "of" phrase following the noun possessed.

      To a native English speaker, the possessive seems to be one of the easiest parts of the English language. So why do I always see texts by such advanced writers who can't use it? Any thoughts?

      Jamie
    • Martin Janda
      Zbytecne neres, oni ti pak stejne sdeli, jake storno ti skousnou a jake ne :-)) Martin
      Message 34 of 34 , Oct 16, 2011
        Zbytecne neres, oni ti pak stejne sdeli, jake storno ti skousnou a jake
        ne :-))

        Martin


        Dne 15.10.2011 18:36, Sabina Králová napsal(a):
        > Dekuji, Zoro. Ptam se prave proto, ze mam moznost uzavrit smlouvu s jednou
        > agenturou, do ktere si mohu storno poplatek dat. Netusim ale, co je
        > primerene a vim, ze kdyz budu narokovat moc, mam smulu a kdyz malo, tak na
        > tom prodelam:)).
        > Sabina
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: Czechlist@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Czechlist%40yahoogroups.com>
        > [mailto:Czechlist@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Czechlist%40yahoogroups.com>]On
        > Behalf Of zora.jackman
        > Sent: Saturday, October 15, 2011 5:37 PM
        > To: Czechlist@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Czechlist%40yahoogroups.com>
        > Subject: [Czechlist] Re: Poplatek za zruseni tlumoceni
        >
        > Sabino, ja tlumocim v UK a z me zkusenosti to zavisi na tom, co mate ve
        > smlouve.
        > Smluvni podminky pro soudy uvadeji, ze pokud jde o zruseni po 10. hodine
        > jeden pracovni den pred smluvenym dnem, potom soud plati minimalni castku,
        > ktera se rovna prvnim 3 hodinam (£85). Podotykam, ze toto se bude brzy
        > menit, nebot soudy ted budou objednavat tlumocniky pres agenturu, ktera si
        > udava podminky mnohem horsi.
        > Jinak to zalezi na tom, co si dala agentura (klient) nebo vy do smluvnich
        > podminek. Pokud jste se predem na storno poplatku nedomluvili, muze se stat,
        > ze nedostanete nic.
        >
        > ZORA
        >
        > --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com <mailto:Czechlist%40yahoogroups.com>,
        > Sabina Králová <saba-k@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Dobry den,
        > >
        > > rada bych se zeptala, jestli nevite, jake jsou v Evrope/USA bezne
        > poplatky
        > > za zruseni tlumoceni? Vim, ze kdysi agentury garantovaly 100% nebo 50%?
        > > castky, pokud to bylo 24 a mene hodin predem.
        > >
        > > Ma nekdo z Vas s necim podobnym zkusenosti?
        > >
        > > Dekuji predem za odpoved.
        > >
        > > Sabina
        > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
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