29 April 2013

Translating management speak #1

When tackling the translation of comprehensible MS, the translator needs to bear in mind a host of potential issues, including:
  • The customer is likely to have a good idea how he/she wants his/her pet BWs to be translated into the target language.
  • In spite of all the fine words of those who rail against BWs (see Management speak I and II below), it is not, as a rule, up to the translator to replace the author's BWs by exemplary jargon-free paraphrases for reasons that I hope to make clear shortly.
  •  Ask yourself: What is going on in the subtext? 
More specifically:
  • Are any sections of the text aimed at people ‘in the know’ to the exclusion of those who are not?
  • Do sections of the text identify an author who genuinely belongs to some inner circle and is attempting to send a message to other members to the exclusion of lesser mortals?
  • Do sections of the text reveal an author who is desperate to make his/her readers believe that he/she belongs to some inner circle, but clearly has not succeeded?
The point here is to determine whether or not certain MS passages contain coded messages for specific audiences or are part of some power play? In such cases, clarity, from the average reader's viewpoint as opposed to members of some inner circle, is secondary or even irrelevant to other aspects of the subtext.

None of these issues are ever tackled by those who rail against MS&BW, sometimes without understanding what is really going on.

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