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I've worked with Asian OEM manufacturers for several years and have many examples of "contaminated English" both from manuals and UIs. I've dozens of examples of hilarious boops that I've found in the texts. One example is the term "Handle".
I'm responsible for getting the English firmware translated into 10+ European languages so receive the FW files with the source Chinese strings and the English ones done by the Chinese engineers. When I first started working with one of our Chinese OEMs, the term "Handle" regularly appeared in the UIs when it should have been "Rule". How on earth did "Rule" become "Handle"?
I entered the Chinese character for "Rule" into Google Translate. Google gave me translations all around the theme of "Handling". A Chinese friend then told me that the Chinese character for "Rule" is based on the word for "Hand". Google had done a literal translation. I've other many such stories.
Episodes like this made it easy to persuade my boss that we start seriously managing English terminology and work more closely with our Asian OEMs on it.
Google Translate is a useful tool within limits and our Asian suppliers certainly use it or a local equivalent when writing their manuals and software in English. The tool is getting better. The English of our Chinese engineers is also getting much better over time as an increasing number of them have trained overseas.
Jen in Brussels
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