Andrey (azangru) wrote,

So there is this design studio whose website I occasionally visit (probably for the same reason I visit Facebook — to get an adrenaline rush of disgust from their chief editor’s prescriptive remarks). Well, this time I noticed they were advertising their e-book on typography and layout. So I got curious (damn, but I am so easily distracted!) and followed the ad.

What intrigued me the most was that the e-book was written in English. So I examined the text trying to figure out whether the translator was an English- or a Russian-speaker.

There weren’t any glaring errors, not that I could see (which made the exercise more exciting), but there was that overall feeling of inelegance, awkwardness and clumsiness that I could explain only by the translation being done into a non-native language.

Take these sentences for example:
- “At best, the designer is left with no choice but to search for scattered clues of meaning and copy some decent examples.” (this feels unnecessarily syntactically pompous)
- Interactive based‑on‑scrolling user interface creates reading experience that is impossible in a paper book. The reader intuitively controls the change of illustrations or even the redesign of given layout examples, going back or skipping a few steps as he likes. (Here, I couldn’t even understand what the passage is describing. And the based-on-scrolling word looks horrible. And isn’t there an article missing before reading experience in the first sentence? Although who am I, with my Slavic deafness to articles, to say?)

I was rewarded when I finally saw the name of the translator at the bottom of the page. Of course, a person with a Slavic name could easily be a native of an English-speaking country, but in this case it seems to be this guy. Which confirmed my impression that the translation was made into a non-native language and left me wondering, are there more obvious clues in that text that it was produced by a non-native English writer. And also, why the hell would a company that boasts of its mastery with words not hire a professional English-speaking editor to polish the translation?

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