Friday, May 1, 2009

Frenglish 101

Anyone who has used Google or Yahoo to translate a web page or an article from one language to another knows that it is a tricky science, with the results far from acceptable.
Translation remains one of the few tasks where humans wildly outperform computers. One of the key elements is to use a translator who's native language is one that the passage is being translated into.

Last year I wrote to Ports Canada about the embarrassing language used on the Champlain bridge. Some of the messages on the electronic message boards included;

To their credit, these problems have disappeared. No doubt they have an anglophone reviewing the messages before they are allowed to see the light of day.

The latest agency to slaughter the English language is Transport Quebec. I hope that the department can scrounge up at least one English employee who would be able to review English advertisement before they were sent to be published.
The quality of the English used in Thursday's advertisement advising the public of the closure of the LaFontaine tunnel, left a lot to be desired.
Ultimately it is a embarrassing reflection on the department.

I've highlighted the most apparent gaffe, but almost every single notation suffers from faulty translation or has grammatical errors or problems in syntax.

See how many you can find....

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