09 June 2014

'Passion': a passing fashion?

On 8 June, writing under the heading It is dangerous to feel passion for your work, FT columnist Lucy Kellaway looked once again at the word 'passion' and its current usage in coporatese.

Lucy reminded readers that:
... the word “passion” properly refers either to a strong sexual attraction or to the suffering of Jesus Christ at the time of the crucifixion, neither of which are terribly appropriate in an office setting.
then went on to add:
... the passion fashion was just another tiresome example of language inflation. Just as companies refer to all employees as “talent”, even when they are lazy and mediocre, and just as they talk flatulently of “astounding” and “enchanting” customers, they also insist on passion as an entry ticket to any job. It is brainless and bogus ...
Lucy is, once again, offering excellent advice.
For translators of corporatese, the challenges are considerable:
Translate as it is, warts and all?
Dilute and restrain gently but not so much as to attract criticism? 
Be bold and do as Lucy recommends, which is to say, negotiate a mandate to replace the brainless, bogus rubbish by sound, honest and inventive but restrained language?

The last option sounds good even if it does present quite a challenge in terms of the writing skills required. But that's the easy bit. The big problem is how to convince the authors of the original that the translation should be written in a completely different tone without giving the impression that the authors have not done a particularly good job?
Your comments and suggestions will be most welcome.

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