omments-head">Comments

Especially love this "bad english" translation:

In alternate press Dan Savage answers the questions of sex without taking tweezers;

Is that like a French version of "taking this piss?"

Posted by: Bill Peschel at June 23, 2002 04:45 PM

It means that"Dan Savage doesn't doesn't handle his readers with kids gloves" but it sounds pretty awful in English, doesn'it?

Posted by: emmanuelle at June 23, 2002 06:17 PM

Truly the "want this page in bad english" feature takes the day! And so effortlessly; whereas Mr. Twain had to no doubt laboriously produce his famous French "translation" the slow, hard, way...

Posted by: Kirk Parker at June 24, 2002 12:47 AM

This reminds me of when I was in Changsha, Hunan a couple of months ago. I was at a 5-star hotel (The Dolton) which was very nice but the language barrier was still there (I don't speak much aside from "Nie in bad english" feature takes the day! And so effortlessly; whereas Mr. Twain had to no doubt laboriously produce his famous French "translation" the slow, hard, way...

Posted by: Kirk Parker at June 24, 2002 12:47 AM

This reminds me of when I was in Changsha, Hunan a couple of months ago. I was at a 5-star hotel (The Dolton) which was very nice but the language barrier was still there (I don't speak much aside from "Ni hao!"). The bell captain was this young guy who called himself "Jack", and he wanted some help with phrasing for his English language lessons to the rest of the staff. If you ever want to become aware of just how much of our vernacular doesn't translate well, just try teaching English to someone who learned it in China. Or Russia.

I thought I knew English well. I always got good scores in English class, and did very well on the verbal part of the SAT, especially for an engineer. But sitting there trying to explain to Jack why he should phrase things my way instead of his, I realized I don't know squat about my own native language. Ever since then I've taken the minimalist step of eliminating "going to" from my speech (and my daughter's. Just try this with your 5-year-old and see how easy it is).

A HUGE portion of our speech is cliche, colloquialism and "old saw". Why berate others for having a bit of that in their speech? Just because their cliche doesn't translate into one of ours that fits? Hey...a cliche translator/transformer. Now there's an idea...

Posted by: David Perron at June 28, 2002 04:39 AM
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