Sunday, April 05, 2009

One Lousy Reason To Learn English

I have been coming across an increasing number of blogs that complain about people who LOTE, or businesses who "squander tax money on translations" or advocating the whole world uses English. Most of them are written by English-speakers from that currently rather sad part of the world out West. But today, I cam upon the most hilarious advocacy for learning English:

"There are many different reasons that you may find learning English to be of benefit in the business world. The most prominent of these reasons is that it helps you do business in America. Many international businesses are very interested in doing business in America because it can be a very profitable venture."

Oh, I see!

And then a few stabs at translators (or is it interpreters):

(1) Translators create a rift between the negotiating parties. You can never be sure that a translator is relaying what you say in the most effective manner; and what they say is true: if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. This is also true with presenting business deals to a company who does business in a different language.

Never heard of the Code of Ethics, that one.

(2) If you are looking for a job in the international field, then English is definitely a requirement. You may ask “why?” and “couldn’t I just hire an interpreter?” but what you must understand is that without knowing the language yourself, communication can be rudimentary at best. A great deal of meaning is often lost in translations, and certain subtleties in word usage can also be lost.

Then a few lines later:

(3) People who know English can a better appreciate poetry and prose written in that language. Why? Well, as mentioned before, a great deal of meaning can be lost in translation. This is especially so if you are talking about word play. It is often the case that riddles, jokes and poetry rely on word play in order to make sense. Translations are just no good for this sort of thing.

Is this person dumb, or dumb, or what? All these wonderful literary translators over the ages, and he/she is saying we are no good at it? Pardon me, but the person who made your Bible into English was a translator!

I won't even link this nitwit to here!

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