A Little Goes a Long Way…

Sometimes writers believe that adding a touch of their natural speak helps the reader feel more comfortable with their words. I believe this to be true to a point.

If you read Stephen King, you can almost hear that New England accent from many of the actors in his movies. If you read Charlaine Harris, you can hear the Southern drawl of the people from Bon Temps, Louisiana. Having that speech in your mind helps the reader hear what the characters are feeling as well as what they are saying.

But a little can go a long way in the written words. When the conversation of the novel or other work is so abbreviated or drawn out that it impedes the reading of the text, that is too much. A well placed “Y’all” isn’t too bad but making the Southern (or any other) lingo so heavy that it is unreadable or understandable defeats the purpose of writing the story.

This link provides an interesting view on when the use of translators is necessary even for people who are speaking the same language:

http://brave-new-words.blogspot.com/2006/12/translators-responsibilities-when.html 

Which brings me to another point. In worldwide blogging, we often run into blogs written in the native language of the posting person rather than automatically to American or British English. There is always a button at the top of the blog which asks if you wish to translate. I’m always uncertain about using the translate button. We’ve learned from auto fill on our texts that what we meant to say is not what is sent a good portion of the time. How do we know that the translate button really works? How do we know we are reading what the posting person wrote or felt?

It is a quandary I am facing daily. For the people who often use the translate button, how well do you believe it translates what might be regional or other versions of the basic language?

I would like to know your feelings.

Photo Credit: How many languages are there in the world? Stephen R. Anderson  https://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/how-many-languages-are-there-world 

 

8 Comments

  1. Yoss has quite a few Israeli friends that comment on facebook in Hebrew and many times google translate is a total fail. Sometimes it can catch it but I think newer words or slang just doesn’t translate.
    Also Jessica found a YouTube channel run by a girl who takes popular songs and sends them through Google translate to various non English languages but then back to English and the results are hilarious. Also I have seen a person who got a tattoo in Hebrew that was supposed to say an inspirational life quote but it actually says Babylon is the best translation software. Beware translations.

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    1. I wish I had learned another language, but I graduated from High School before that was a requirement. However, most kids that are my age now that took French or Spanish do not remember any of it anyway.

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  2. I am sure I am missing much of the world’s wisdom by not using the translate button, but I have trouble understanding just plain American English sometimes. I don’t want to try to decide if what I am reading is what the person was really trying to tell me.

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