Thursday, September 20, 2012

Translating 101: A beginner's guide..

So, here we go on a whole new theme and concept for my blog, the idea here is that I look to bridge the sometimes wide gap between English speaking educationalists and English speaking techno guys.  The issue here is that both have their own language (and several variants) that make the job a little harder than you'd think at first glance.

Let's accept some facts:
Techos speak a different language to everyone else.  It's meant to be different to English and you're not supposed to understand it if you're not in the 'club'.  If you don't know the acronyms then you're not in their club.  They have a verbal 'special' handshake that distinguishes them and puts them on a higher level.  They also bullsh!t at an almost unimaginable level to anyone who doesn't know what they're on about.

Academics and Educationalists speak English the way no-one else does any more.  They don't mean to be hard to understand but just can't seem to help themselves.  One key is that when they encounter a foreign language they replace it with silly words like 'do-dah' and 'watsit'.  Educationalists use academic arguments which basically means they're never wrong (technically).

English itself is not a single language (thank you Microsoft) with regional, national, technical and even educational dialects that can have a massive effect.  Combine this and we've got a mess and surefire problems ahead.

To talk to techos or educationalists requires a skill but bringing them together is a work of art.  Both sides are used to working on a 'higher plane' so you have to approach them deferring to their greater knowledge - but be careful how you do this.  I always let the techos know that I'm not a full-on techo myself, but I understand enough of what they're saying to be able to take it and present it back to them in plain English that makes them know I've got enough of it without having to be given full entrance to the club.  For educationalists they need reassurance that you get what they're waffling about and empathise with them.  As long as you understand what they're trying to achieve you'll go a long way with them.  You also need to let them speak as they are used to hearing their own voices and they give themselves reassurance!

Just for fun here's some rough translations for you to get things started:

Yes (English) = Correct (Academic) = 1 (techo) or an emphatic form of yes: absolutely, definitely

Maybe (E) = it's feasible but not altogether likely (A) = yeah but nah and any other form of yes with shaking head or screwed up face or sign of distress (T)

No (E) = I just don't think there's.... yada yada (A) =  silence  or very long pause and funny facial expressions (T)

Hello (E) = I'm just calling to discsuss... we need to address..  or any other conversational piece neglecting the customary introduction (A) = a slight change in distinguishable expression or a very quiet noise that sometimes sounds like a quick 'hey' (T)

Note here that if techo goes out of their way to say a big hello that your project is in a really bad way!

That's all for this time, looking forward to looking at some language strings (T)/ways in which we can elaborate upon simple prose (A)/sentences next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment