16 March 2017

Oxford comma court case

Language circles are buzzing with articles and comments on a recent court case in the USA that was decided on the basis of punctuation and more specifically the use of the so-called Oxford comma. See, for example, An Oxford comma changed this court case by AJ Willingham, CNN (updated 16 March 2017) or
Oxford comma helps drivers win dispute about overtime pay
by Elena Cresci.

One of my high school English teachers, a Welshman named Jones would you believe, often said that this was bound to happen one day. So, Mr Jones, it looks like that day has come.

What I found astounding is that many Americans who write about this and similar topics seek categorical black & white rules. A J Willingham ends her article saying:
(All of you Oxford comma purists out there, go ahead and gloat. We'll have you know CNN adheres by AP Style, which does not include the mark.)
So the Chicago Style Manual says use it, always, while AP Style "does not use the mark".

I prefer to do what Mr Jones used to do, namely use it when you, or your readers, need it and don't when you don't. What's the matter with old-fashioned logic and hard thinking?

Elena Cresci's article includes the following.
The Guardian style guide has the following to say about Oxford commas: a comma before the final “and” in lists: straightforward ones (he ate ham, eggs and chips) do not need one, but sometimes it can help the reader (he ate cereal, kippers, bacon, eggs, toast and marmalade, and tea).
Sometimes it is essential: compare
I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis, and J K Rowling.
with
I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis and J K Rowling.
Precisely the approach I recommend and try to use.

25 April 2017

Under the heading The ambiguous Oxford comma, Sentence first -- an Irishman's blog about the English language -- also prefers analysis to dogma.

07 March 2017

Transcreation, examples from an online newsletter, #4

Compare:
French: Un projet de ferry à hydrogène pour les îles du Ponant
English: Nøé: Barillec’s zero emissions vessel

The original focuses on the technology and the ferry service that will use it.
The English focuses on the companies and the aim of the new technology.

Transcreation: Different readership, different approach.

06 March 2017

Nouvelle édition anglaise de Mer et Marine

Nouvelle édition anglaise de Mer et Marine


La sixième édition de notre newsletter mensuelle en anglais sera diffusée aujourd'hui à la mi-journée. Cette nouvelle parution en ligne traite de sujets liés à l'économie maritime française et internationale, avec notamment un reportage à Saint-Nazaire pour faire le point sur la montée en puissance de STX France dans le domaine des énergies marines.

Distribuée à plusieurs milliers de destinataires anglophones dans le monde entier, la newsletter en anglais est réalisée par la rédaction de Mer et Marine et traduite par une équipe de traducteurs spécialisés dans le secteur maritime. Les articles de l'ensemble des newsletters parues se trouvent sur le site anglophone de Mer et Marine et sont consultables gratuitement.

*****

02 March 2017

Transcreation, examples from an online newsletter, #3

Compare the transcreated version
Retired racing cat to run on wind, sunshine and hydrogen
with the original
Energy Observer: Un ancien catamaran de course reconverti à l'hydrogène

The passage
À bord du labo-navire, il s'agit de coupler plusieurs énergies : trois sortes de panneaux solaires, répartis sur 130 m² de surface, deux éoliennes à axe vertical, une aile de traction intelligente et deux moteurs électriques réversibles permettent de produire l'hydrogène à bord et, mieux encore, de le stocker.
was transcreated (i.e. translated and re-written) to read
The challenge is to combine multiple energy sources, including three types of solar panels covering 130sq.m, two vertical-axis wind turbines, a smart traction kite, two reversible electric motors and, instead of batteries, hydrogen stored in high-pressure tanks. When sufficient electricity is available, it will be used to produce hydrogen from seawater by electrolysis. When there is no sun or wind, stored hydrogen will be converted back into electricity by fuel cells.
Why? 
Because the original, first published by Le Télégramme, was written for a general newspaper readership whereas the Mer et Marine monthly newsletter in English targets specialist readers working in the marine/maritime/naval industries who are interested in French innovations.

As the translator (alias transcreator), I felt that the English version's specialist readership deserved some additional technical information. To save them the trouble of Googling for this additional information, I did the work for them then condensed my findings as shown above.

There is lots of confusion out there in the blogosphere and the language service industry about what transcreation means. The examples given here are intended to document and explain my approach to the question in one highly specific work situation. I'd be happy to hear what you think.

Transcreating technical journalism, conference presentation

On Saturday 17 June, I at spoke at the TransLisboa 2017 conference organised by Aptrad . My presentation was entitled  Transcreating techn...