ikramerica
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Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 12:27 pm

Just an observation. We all know that instruction manuals for electronics are not always properly translated, but it's somewhat excusable due to the large number of different products produced in a short amount of time.

But I don't get how major international airlines put together an english web page and don't bother to hire a NATIVE english speaker (UK, USA, Aussi, whatever) to proof it, or even use an english spell checking library.

I've seen some really funny sites in my life, but this one is pretty fantastic: CI.

My friend is flying CI SYD-TPE-LAX and I'm picking him up, so I was tooling around CI's website. It's riddled with nonsensical sentences, spelling errors, homonyms, etc. But then there are other wonderful and clear paragraphs, and even whole pages that were obviously proofed by native speakers.

All of their seat maps have a link to "Key to Menities" which I assume is meant to be amenities, but I'm not positive. The guide to First Class on the 744 is full of engrish. The A330 specs seem to be copied directly from their literature, but they still mention the top "spedd".

It would cost them nearly nothing to pay someone to check these things. And it seems like they offer a nice product, at least with the newest retrofitted F and J cabins. You'd think they'd want to make sure they present it in the best light possible.

Since I'm not a Spanish speaker, I don't know how much of this goes on at CO or AA with their Espanol portals. Anyone experience the same thing from the reverse side with so called International carriers?
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a3
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:10 pm

I agree 100%.

I think that most errors are made because website creators use translators (from original language to another) that have no idea whatsoever about aviation terminology.
Unfortunately this is common to many languages and many many sectors (not just aviation) where specific terms are to be used.

Rgds
A3
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ShannoninAMA
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:18 pm

Ive tried CI's before....engrish at its best


TG's is pretty good from what i have seen  Smile
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siromega
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:21 pm

I've actually thought about starting a consulting business to do that for taiwan-based computer parts companies - to go through their literature before printing to clean it up.
 
cloudyapple
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:51 pm

Engrish is in use at all the Chinese and Japanese carriers - not surprised.

Even here in Hong Kong it's just as bad. The British ruled the colony for more than 100 years, you'd have thought we have had all the time we need to learn proper english but no! When you read the press section of big names like Cathay and Dragon you'd be horrified. And they're supposed to be 40% owned by Swire Pacific itself a British owned company.

Simple things like spelling and grammar can make or break a company's brand and reputation. Especially in a service industry where customer service and safety are paramount. What hope a company has in maintaining complex machines when they can't even spell properly?

Proof readers aren't that expensive to hire in the grand scheme of things I suppose?!
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keno
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:21 pm

CI website, though not perfect, is still way better than Mainland China carriers - even the big 3 still have little english content. Bad english is still better than no english.
 
enginebird
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:40 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Thread starter):
I've seen some really funny sites in my life, but this one is pretty fantastic: CI.

Well, for the same reason CI pilots feature frequently and prominently in funny/scary ATC recordings, being unable to communicate with air traffic controllers in the US (who themselves contribute their part to the problem by not sticking to ICAO phraseology).
 
BCAL
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:44 pm

Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 4):
Proof readers aren't that expensive to hire in the grand scheme of things I suppose?!

Maybe in these days when computer programmes can perform spell checks and grammar checks, good proof readers are a very rare breed?

Talking about poor English on the websites of Chinese carriers, you should see some of the English signs that are displayed in Hong Kong or China mainland





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rootsair
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:50 pm

Quoting Cloudyapple (Reply 4):
Engrish is in use at all the Chinese and Japanese carriers - not surprised.

And the ever so famous !

http://www.allyourbasearebelongtous.com/allyourbase.jpg
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diezel
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 6:03 pm

On the other hand...considering the fact that there are more than three times as many Chinese (Mandarin) speaking people than there are English speakers in the world, one could think about learning some Chinese or wonder why not all UK or USA based carriers have their websites translated into Mandarin.

Roel.
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Embajador3
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:47 pm

Quoting Diezel (Reply 9):
On the other hand...considering the fact that there are more than three times as many Chinese (Mandarin) speaking people than there are English speakers in the world, one could think about learning some Chinese or wonder why not all UK or USA based carriers have their websites translated into Mandarin.

Roel.

That was a good one, mate! LOL !!!
I noticed many mistakes on the spanish traslations given by AA. However, i do not complain, as i thank the fact that they have a spanish traslation.
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vfw614
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:08 pm

I have seen funny translations into German by carriers from English speaking countries - and I wondered why they could not be bothered to hire a native speaker.....
 
LVTMB
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:10 pm

Quoting Ikramerica (Thread starter):
But I don't get how major international airlines put together an english web page and don't bother to hire a NATIVE english speaker (UK, USA, Aussi, whatever) to proof it, or even use an english spell checking library.

Because they do not recognize the need. In other words, they do not suspect that the translation into a language they cannot speak or understand, is below par.

Quoting Ikramerica (Thread starter):
Since I'm not a Spanish speaker, I don't know how much of this goes on at CO or AA with their Espanol portals.

Maybe not as bad as your example, but the same thing.

MB
 
Poitin
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:28 pm

Quoting LVTMB (Reply 12):
Quoting Ikramerica (Thread starter):
But I don't get how major international airlines put together an english web page and don't bother to hire a NATIVE english speaker (UK, USA, Aussi, whatever) to proof it, or even use an english spell checking library.

Because they do not recognize the need. In other words, they do not suspect that the translation into a language they cannot speak or understand, is below par.

That has been the case for years in China. I use to make a nice income rewriting the technical manuals for some very sophisticated ASIC modeling software from Chinglish to English. The American sales force paid me because they couldn't sell the program with the original manual.

Of late the Chinese have started to clean up their Chinglish signs particularly in Beijing with the coming Olympics in mind. They have a lot of work, but knowing them they will have it all finished in a few more month.

There is as series of signs the at need work -- click on "next" to see the next example:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/6054726.stm
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articulatexpat
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:00 pm

The problem is not just a lack of decent English on these airlines' websites, but a lack of FUNCTIONALITY in English.
 
Poitin
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:26 pm

Quoting Articulatexpat (Reply 14):
The problem is not just a lack of decent English on these airlines' websites, but a lack of FUNCTIONALITY in English.

That is an understatement. However, you have a large number of people who take great pride in their ability to "speak" English, who can't, and who don't understand the complexities of the language in the least. I have too much experience with it to try to explain to them just how bad their English really is. I remember talking to the VP of sales for the ASIC modeling software who told me not to bother asking any questions of those in Hong Kong. Instead he assigned a technical specialist who spoke fluent Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) to ask questions of their "tech writers" who took great pride in their mastery of English. It was pure pride. He asked the questions in Chinese, translated the answers for me to English, and I polished it. Painful, but at $80 an hour, I was happy. (And this was 15 years ago.)

For those of you interested in what the Chinese are doing nowadays, Google on "Chinglish". There are lots of funny postings, but it makes clear that they care a great deal now.
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ikramerica
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:54 pm

Quoting Embajador3 (Reply 10):
I noticed many mistakes on the spanish traslations given by AA. However, i do not complain, as i thank the fact that they have a spanish traslation

That's why I asked. And for AA, CO, etc. you can bet they do have native speakers working on the sites, as we have plenty of native speakers here in the USA.

Spanish and English are both very important, because English is the international language of finance, and Spanish is growing and spoken in such a large number of countries. Similar to Arabic in this regard, but with larger populations.

While people say: "you should learn Mandarin (or insert language) because X number of people speak it" the problem is, it's generally only one country and the expats who speak it, so unless you want to deal with that one country, why must you learn that language? English, Spanish, and to some degree French (in Africa) are more widespread due to colonization, and thus as international languages are more valuable. Thus websites in these languages are also more important to international businesses, because they serve as the common language between two people of non-similar background.

Quoting Poitin (Reply 15):
That is an understatement. However, you have a large number of people who take great pride in their ability to "speak" English, who can't, and who don't understand the complexities of the language in the least

That's like me with French. I can read it (Mostly) and speak it (in a pinch) but it doesn't mean anyone should hire me to put their International website together for them...  Wink
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:03 am

There are some good ones in German as well.


When you open the side of KDavia from Kaliningrad/Russia, they order you in capital letters

KAUFEN SIE TICKET (BUY TICKET)


They don't say what happens when you don't ( may be they shoot you), but it makes some people click their heels instantly, shout YESSIR and obey the order.

 Big grin
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spacecadet
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Er

Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:29 am

Quoting Diezel (Reply 9):
On the other hand...considering the fact that there are more than three times as many Chinese (Mandarin) speaking people than there are English speakers in the world

Not sure where you're getting that... though I've heard this before. Seems to be one of those internet myths.

53% of Chinese can speak Mandarin (though that doesn't mean they do; the number of active speakers is lower), according to a survey done by Xinhua: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2007-03/07/content_5812838.htm

That works out to about 700 million people. I'll be generous and give you 10 million more worldwide; I think it's safe to say that's probably the upper limit of non-native Mandarin speakers (it's a difficult language to learn, and not many do unless they have a good reason).

The number of English speakers is a little harder to quantify, but you can start with the number of natives, which is at least 340 million. That's not including any non-natives, including any of Europe outside of the UK, any of India, or anywhere else. It's also not including non-natives in native-speaking countries - for example, it counts only about 220 million of the US population.

India alone would add about 350 million English speakers to that tally (according to a 1997 survey by India Today). Add in Europe and you've probably got around 100 million more. Likely another 200 million on the low end in the rest of Asia and Pacific Islands (including China, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc), and the middle east. And probably another 50-100 million non-native speakers in native-speaking countries.

I think it's safe to say there are more English speakers in the world than Mandarin speakers, and probably by a good margin. You could probably look this up yourself and eventually come up with a more exact number than I just did, though I think where I did estimate, I was actually pretty conservative.

English is also obviously a much more global language, as you can tell from the numbers above, so it's really in any international airline's best interests to have well-written English pages on their web sites. A passenger of (for example), Indian, German, or even Japanese origin is going to be much more likely to understand English than Mandarin or any other language besides their native language. All of these countries teach English as a required course in schools.

There's really no excuse for an airline having poorly written English pages on its web site.

[Edited 2007-07-02 17:31:22]
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NAV20
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:43 am

Uncle of mine always claimed to have participated in the negotiations that prevented World War Three - between the United States and the British Commonweath - breaking out in Italy in 1943.

Some US Sixth Army soldiers brought a broken-down jeep into a British Eighth Army transport unit and asked them to fix it. The fitter said that the part (carburettor, I think) was beyond repair, and that it would be several days before he could get a spare.

The Americans argued that he should find a way - and he emphasised his point by saying, in terms, "Look mate, it's U/S, savvy? I carn fix the bloody thing, it's f****ng U/S!"

Problem was, for the best part of a couple of centuries before that, the expression 'U.S.' had meant 'these United States' to all Americans, military or civilian.

Unfortunately, however, for an almost equal length of time, 'U/S' had always meant 'un-serviceable' to all members of the Commonwealth armed forces...........

[Edited 2007-07-02 17:52:57]
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ikramerica
Topic Author
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:01 am

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 17):
They don't say what happens when you don't ( may be they shoot you), but it makes some people click their heels instantly, shout YESSIR and obey the order

ROFL.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 19):
Uncle of mine

Nice story. Not sure why it's here.
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diezel
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:03 am

Quoting Spacecadet (Reply 18):
Not sure where you're getting that... though I've heard this before. Seems to be one of those internet myths

I don't want this to be a point and I did not make a study of it but the numbers I found are basically all over the internet.
for example:

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0775272.html

and

http://www2.ignatius.edu/faculty/turner/languages.htm

Another point is the calculated value of an English or Mandarin speaker. There is a real famous article about that which you can read here:

http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/reprints/weber/rep-weber.htm

My point that I really wanted to make was that it might be considered "arrogant" if you assume that everything should be perfect in your own native language while most of the people around you speak an other native language.

Roel.
Never be afraid of what you like. (Miles Davis)
 
NAV20
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Tue Jul 03, 2007 1:04 am

Just that it's not only the Chinese that have problems with 'English usage,' Ikramerica.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
Poitin
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Tue Jul 03, 2007 4:05 am

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 16):
Quoting Poitin (Reply 15):
That is an understatement. However, you have a large number of people who take great pride in their ability to "speak" English, who can't, and who don't understand the complexities of the language in the least

That's like me with French. I can read it (Mostly) and speak it (in a pinch) but it doesn't mean anyone should hire me to put their International website together for them... Wink

That is about my skill level with French, German, Spanish and Italian. I can also read about 100 Chinese characters, which can be translated directly into English because they are pictographic. Does that mean I know these languages -- absolutely not, and I surely would not try to write in any of them. It is just too easy to make bone head mistakes.

Many years ago in college Spanish class, my instructor drove in the importance of really learning a language and that simply living in the country wasn't enough. An American diplomat lived in Madrid for nearly 30 years and when finally retiring from the US embassy, his colleagues threw a going-away party. Since just about everyone at the party was Spanish, he was expected to speak in Spanish. Embarrassed by all the attention, he got up and said, "Soy muy embarazado."

Needless to say, every laughed and laughed. It translates "I am very pregnant."

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 22):
Just that it's not only the Chinese that have problems with 'English usage,' Ikramerica.

Hell, I know lots of native born 'Mericans" who don't speaka da Inglish.

You can also argue that many native English speakers are a disaster in other languages. Just ask any Frenchman about the American tourists in Paris.

I do agree with Ikramerica's argument it is easy enough to find native English speakers just about anywhere whom you can hire to proof read web pages and such. I have a niece living in Seville supporting herself and her Flaminco dance lessons doing just that at E10 per hour. She is not a EU citizen, so has to work "off the books."
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USADreamliner
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:36 am

MUCHO BUENO!!!


 Big grin  Big grin

(Spanish spoken people will understand me)
 
a300
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RE: Airlines With English Websites But Too Many Errors

Wed Jul 04, 2007 2:17 am

The problem of poor English is endemic on many airline websites. That is because people try to translate directly from one language to another. For example, the pluralization rules in Persian are different than in English. Thus, you get such examples as "Iran Air Tour Airline" and the "Airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran". It is embarrassing everytime I fly one of their aircraft or see their website.
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