Friday, March 30, 2007

90th Anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge/90e Anniversaire de la bataille de la crête de Vimy

Durham Region Special Features, Special Reports, Special Sections, ...

Une collègue vient de me décrire un grand voyage qu'elle entreprend avec sa fille pour commémorer le 90e anniversaire de la bataille de la crête de Vimy, près d'Arras, en France, pendant la Première guerre mondiale.

It is touching to see that so many young people are interested in History and in the sacrifices that the Canadian forces made 90 years ago. CBC television will be covering the ceremonies, attended by the Queen, our Prime Minister and the French government representatives.

Je compte surveiller les nouvelles et visionner une partie des reportages télévisés.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tom Stoyan at AIC/ Tom Stoyan à l’AIC.

Attended an interesting meeting organised by AIC which featured a presentation by the well-known Tom Stoyan. In his own, inimitatable style, Tom was able to capture the interest of the audience, draw them out, challenge traditional attitudes to selling and show, by example, that selling does not mean “hitting the customer on the head with a canned monologue”.

J’ai eu le plaisir d’assister aux présentations de M. Stoyan à plusieurs reprises et dois avouer qu’aucune d’elles ne se répète ni ne se contredit. Il est évident que Tom est un vrai converti et qu’il prêche du fond du cœur (avec chiffres à l’appui). Mes collègues anglophones ont de la chance qu’ils peuvent comprendre les allocutions de M. Stoyan – il serait peut-être utile de mettre ces renseignements au service des francophones.

If you are interested in improving your sales, by all means, get more info on Tom’s approach – it will help you to reap great benefits. Qui sait, peut-être Tom consentirait de traduire son message en français également et ainsi augmenter la portée de ses présentations.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Musical musings/ Réflexions musicales

Over the years, I have dreamed of portable music. In the days of portable transistor radios, I dreamed of something with headphones (Sony read my mind). Then came the cassette player and the CD player, sometimes with a radio thrown in. In each case, each device was easy to load and play but the amount of music was limited by the media. Then as the MP3 appeared, its name started to change almost immediately because the MP3 format was no longer the only one available.

Ne pouvant plus résister, je me suis récemment acheté un lecteur Walkman NW (appelé en anglais Digital Music Player par Sony mais lecteur MP3 dans la version française de leur site). Sa mémoire de 4 Go (4Gb) est absolument énorme – j’y ai versé 15 CD jusqu’à présent et il me reste encore beaucoup d’espace libre. Le lecteur est également muni d’un récepteur radio FM qui marche fort bien et la réception (à Toronto) est excellente.

Une autre surprise agréable : le casque d’écoute à réduction de bruit. Lors de ma promenade quotidienne aujourd’hui, je me croyais en salle de concert tellement la musique était bonne! C’est alors que j’ai compris pourquoi les jeunes gens branchés à leur IPods semblent être dans un univers différent! Le monde extérieur disparaît et est remplacé par le monde interne de la musique.

I suppose we are going to have blackberries with cameras and mp3 players next. My concern is what do you do when the phone rings and you are listening to music or watching a downloaded videoclip, while driving your car? I know, the automotive manufacturers will come up with intelligent cars, which do not need drivers and who will take you along a programmed road to your destination while you listen to your favourite Mozart concerto.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Surrounded by killer whales - Épaulards partout!

Surrounded by killer whales -

Surprising set of photographs of killer whales in a Norwegian bay. Attention, les épaulards ont débarqué!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Bilingualism & dementia/ Bilinguisme et la démence sénile

Because Women’s College Hospital was affilitated with the Sunnbrook Health Centre for a short time, I subscribed to the French version of their Women’s Health Matters newsletter. Today’s issue covers a very interesting article on bilingualism and dementia which I would like to share with all my bilingual (and multilingual) colleagues.

Here is the lead French paragraph:

“Des chercheurs canadiens ont découvert des preuves étonnantes selon lesquelles l’utilisation de deux langues pendant toute sa vie aiderait à retarder de quatre ans l’apparition des symptômes démentiels, comparativement à l’utilisation d’une seule langue.”

On the English side we have the following:

“Canadian scientists have found astonishing evidence that the lifelong use of two languages can help delay the onset of dementia symptoms by four years compared to people who are monolingual.

I had mentioned this in my post of January 12 but thought that this new write-up would be of interest. J’avais mentionné ce sujet le 12 janvier dernier mais voici qu’il est à la une de nouveau. Je vous en souhaite bonne lecture.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

CTTIC error criteria

In July 2006, I wrote about professional exam preparatory courses provided by ATIO and the interesting experience as a tutor that I have had over the last several years. Today, I want to share with my readers the criteria that are used to correct the course translations. They are of two kinds: comprehension and language:

Translation errors (Comprehension)

(T) Major errors - serious mistranslation denoting a definite lack of comprehen-
sion of the source language, nonsense, omission of a phrase or more.

T Minor errors - mistranslation of a single word, omission/addition affecting
meaning, lack of precision, wrong shade of meaning.

Language errors (Errors of expression)

(L) Major errors - gibberish, unacceptable structure.

L Minor errors - syntax, grammar error, ambiguity, convoluted structure,

unidiomatic structure, unacceptable loan translation.

l Minor errors - breach of spelling, punctuation or typographical conventions.

The first denotes the knowledge of the transfer mechanisms that are at play. A candidate deficient in this area would probably not have the target language as his mother tongue. He would also not have a very good grounding in recognizing the importance of the various elements of a sentence. He would thus omit or conceal certain elements, thinking that they are not important. My earlier post about Natural Canadian Spring Water is such an example where spring was translated as the springtime instead of small river.

Deficiencies in the second one usually denote lack of knowledge of the language proper. Errors in the use of the idiom, the syntax, the way sentences are built, the importance of signs such as accents and punctuation. Thus, in the post on Cultural interference, the Yield to Bus sign using the word Cédez, instead of Donnez la priorité or Priorité. Véhicule prioritaire would have been another way of expressing this.

This way of analyzing a translation is part and parcel of the method used in university translation courses so it should not be foreign to the aspiring candidate. A linguist who cannot tell the difference in these areas would not make a good translator.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cultural interference in languages/Interférence de la culture dans la langue

When American companies started using the Best before formulation on food and food packaging, the world took notice and little by little, the same formulation appeared elsewhere. Thus, when the Canadian authorities set about implementing this system, they went with

Best Before and in French - Meilleur avant

While in English, one can use a comparative without formally mentioning the two compared products, according to French grammar, the two things compared must be mentioned. (so to a Frenchman or someone from another French-speaking country, this expression sounds somewhat strange).

In English, the sentence does not say This product is best before. There is also no explanation of what best means.

On packages from France, the DLC acronym is used; it stands for Date limite de consommation (deadline for consumption, i.e. should be eaten before…). The French is much more categorical – one should not eat the product after a certain date. It is like saying this passport expires on….. So it is not valid after that date.

A similar confusion is found with the Yield to Bus Act enacted by the Province of Ontario in 2004. Here is an explanation of how this works:

“When a bus displaying the Yield to Bus sign signals its intention to leave a bus bay by activating the left turn signal, drivers approaching from the rear in the lane adjacent to the bus bay are required to slow down or stop to allow the bus to re-enter the lane, unless it is unsafe to do so.”

So the original idea is to yield the right of way, or yield in short. The verb céder in French has somewhat different meanings:

- to give up (to let somebody have something)

- to sell or dispose of

- to give way to somebody (céder le pas à quelqu’un)

- to give in (sa mère lui cède en tout – his mother always gives in to him)

In the language of driving legislation, one speaks of “donner la priorité à quelqu’un”, to give someone the right of way.

Unfortunately, both Meilleur avant and Cédez are here to stay and the public at large has come to recognize and understand these expressions. The astute translator will have to take into account the culture of the end-reader and convey the expression in that reader’s understanding.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Comments on a blog/Commentaires sur un blogue

La traduction française du mot Blog avait été au début Carnet, ce qui implique un monologue de l’auteur sur une série de sujets divers. Comme tout autre phénomène sur Internet, le blogue évolue et se transforme en une tribune de nature personnelle ou commerciale. Les réactions aux dires de l’auteur constituent donc une particularité marquante d’un blogue.

The business blog thrives on feedback; that is the reason most business related blogs allow comments from their readers. A comment not only allows an alternate opinion, but also allows to leave an Internet trace with a feedback to the commenter’s blog or website.

And yet, many readers do not leave a comment. To encourage my Internet readers to do so, I am providing a link here
to the explanation on how a comment is formulated, how it works and what the various choices the commenter has. Three are available: a) an anonymous comment, b) a Blogger signed comment, or c) a comment under an assumed name.

J’encourage donc mes lecteurs de s’exprimer si mes messages provoquent chez eux des réactions – que ce soit de sympathie ou de contrariété. Merci.