something
Topic Author
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Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:26 am

I was just trying to find information on the status of Air Berlin's longhaul fleet cabin update. I was thinking about giving their A332s a try, provided they've undergone cabin renovation, and came across the following news release on their website:

http://www.airberlin.com/en-GB/site/pressnews_dr.php?ID=3560

The article sounds to me like a Google translation and I liked especially the ''The on-demand audio-video system provides an individualised entertainment programme. Passengers can choose what they prefer from a wide selection of box office hits, TV serials, games, music albums or even audio books'' part. Quite nice of the on-demand system to let passengers choose what their prefer.

This is not how I would want to represent an international company to the outside world. Have you come across similar examples and what are your thoughts about this? Am I being unnecessarily pedantic, or do you agree that a vast enterprise with international operations should at least pony up for a translator?
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
hoons90
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:30 am

http://www.jejuair.net

Comical. Especially the "Special Assitance" section under the service menu.
What an embarrassment!
The biggest mistake made by most human beings: Listening to only half, understanding just a quarter and telling double.
 
Mr AirNZ
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:44 am

Quoting something (Thread starter):
Am I being unnecessarily pedantic, or do you agree that a vast enterprise with international operations should at least pony up for a translator?

Sorry but I'm going to go with pedantic. I really don't see anything wrong with the passage you quote even if it might seem to be directly out of a google translation service.
 
PHX787
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:58 am

http://www.juchetravelservices.com/
"unofficial" website for Air Koryo   

(easiest way to get their service)
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mariner
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:07 am

Quoting Mr AirNZ (Reply 2):
Sorry but I'm going to go with pedantic. I really don't see anything wrong with the passage you quote even if it might seem to be directly out of a google translation service.

I'll be pedantic, too. I agree with you. I don't see what is wrong with the example. It is literate and the meaning clear.

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
gordomatic
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:18 am

Quoting something (Thread starter):
http://www.airberlin.com/en-GB/site/pressnews_dr.php?ID=3560
Quoting PHX787 (Reply 3):
http://www.juchetravelservices.com/

Sorry. I followed both links but everything appears to be correct. I deal with translations & they usually jump out at me when I am reading something. What am I missing?
We have clearance, Clarence. Roger, Roger. What's our vector, Victor?
 
infinit
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:27 am

Quoting something (Thread starter):

I think this in particular isn't too bad but yes, I think I think it's integral for airlines from countries where English isn't a native language to have a team that is well-versed in the language. I do believe Singapore is the only Asian country where English is a mandatory first language nation-wide but most other flag carriers in this region have good English sites as well- MH, AI, GA come to mind. However I have noticed grammatical errors in previous promotional ads from TG and VN though. And on North Asian carriers, some of the cabin crew don't speak much English at all.

Although this isn't politically correct, English is for all intents and purposes the de facto language for international communications. I would feel less safe I'm on an airline where their English site has many errors and more so if the support staff and cabin crew don't speak much English. Simply because I may not be able to understand them and in an emergency, a simple miscommunication could be detrimental.

Avianca Flight 52 comes to mind. This flight was covered by the hit TV series Air Crash Investigation/Mayday. Investigators believed that a key factor leading to the crash was a misunderstanding over the use of the word "priority". The flight crew used it to mean "emergency". Something as simple as the choice of words can be crucial in an emergency.

I'd go so far as to say that English should be a mandatory for all staff working in an airline, domestic and especially international. While this might trample on local languages, such a move is integral in the interest of safety. Maybe an international body like the IATA should rate airlines on this.
 
PHX787
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:33 am

Quoting gordomatic (Reply 5):
Sorry. I followed both links but everything appears to be correct. I deal with translations & they usually jump out at me when I am reading something. What am I missing?

It's working fine for me. You gotta click around to find Air Koryo
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something
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:58 am

Quoting gordomatic (Reply 5):
Sorry. I followed both links but everything appears to be correct. I deal with translations & they usually jump out at me when I am reading something. What am I missing?

It isn't incorrect by the book, but it just doesn't sound right. It sounds like someone took a German sentence and translated it word for word. It doesn't sound right. Besides, ''on demand'' and ''allows you to choose'' is semantically redundant.

People perceive things differently, but I find this sheds a bad light on the airline. It makes the airline look like an unprofessional operation with a ''will-do'' mentality. LH on the other hand seems to hire native speakers for their communications and Emirates obviously does too. So does Air France.

If I owned a business, my website would just not be something I'd save money on. I would also not save money on the attire I wear to a job interview. In the same way that I would consider leaving a store if the clerk talked on the phone while processing my transaction. We're not friends; it's a business transaction of which I expect nothing short of perfection. Especially from a vast enterprise in such a safety-critical industry as aviation. If they went for cheap instead of good for their website, do they apply the same mentality when hiring mechanics and pilots? I expect perfection and don't want to deal with monkeys (that are paid in peanuts..).

But again, I of course understand that many people find my attitude towards ''business'' ridiculous. It's just that to me, being in a business means more than just getting the job done. Even more so when said business is a multi billion dollar enterprise.
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
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mariner
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:16 am

Quoting something (Reply 8):
It isn't incorrect by the book, but it just doesn't sound right. It sounds like someone took a German sentence and translated it word for word. It doesn't sound right. Besides, ''on demand'' and ''allows you to choose'' is semantically redundant.

Given that a fair percentage of those reading it may have English only as a second language, it is probably a good idea to spell it out.

I didn't read "on demand" and "allows you to choose" as synonymous.

One indicates that the service available on demand. The second says that the service has many choices.

mariner
aeternum nauta
 
etoile
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:47 am

Quoting something (Thread starter):
Have you come across similar examples and what are your thoughts about this? Am I being unnecessarily pedantic, or do you agree that a vast enterprise with international operations should at least pony up for a translator?

I suggest you look at BA's German website or UA's Chinese website, make your assessment of the quality of those translations, and report back to this thread.
 
Megatop747-412
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:43 am

Quoting mariner (Reply 9):

I read it the same as how Mariner reads it too - you have choices ( ~ "allows you to choose"), which you can choose to view and listen to as and when you want to ( ~ "on demand")...
 
chootie
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:00 am

Quoting something (Reply 8):
LH on the other hand seems to hire native speakers for their communications

....can´t tell you how many times I have come across the word "information" in a very incorrect way. Never Ever put an "s" at the end of infomation to pluralize the word, because it is both singular and plural in a sense with out the "s" depending on context.
chootie
 
Quokkas
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:15 am

The German original reads : "Das Audio/Video-on-Demand-System bietet ein individuelles Unterhaltungsprogramm. Gäste können aus einem umfangreichen Angebot von Kino-Highlights, Serien, Spielen und Musikalben bis hin zu Hörbüchern nach Belieben auswählen."

Google Translate offers the following translation:
"The audio / video-on-demand system provides an individual entertainment. Guests can choose from an extensive selection of movie highlights, series, games and music albums to audio books as you wish."

So clearly, Google translate wasn't used, although the Google translation is closer to the original than that which appears on AB's English version page.

I also agree with mariner that on-demand and choice are not the same. on-demand suggest (to me at least) that you can start and stop a selection at will. Older IFEs allowed you to make a choice/ selection but you could not always start from the beginning or rewind,,pause, etc.
“Not to laugh, not to cry, not to hate, but understand.” Spinoza
 
something
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:06 pm

Quoting etoile (Reply 10):

Quoting something (Thread starter):
Have you come across similar examples and what are your thoughts about this? Am I being unnecessarily pedantic, or do you agree that a vast enterprise with international operations should at least pony up for a translator?

I suggest you look at BA's German website or UA's Chinese website, make your assessment of the quality of those translations, and report back to this thread.

I don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese. But I can tell you that BA, AF and KL have German websites that have very obviously been written up my native speakers. How much can hiring a native speaker to translate a website possibly cost?

Quoting Megatop747-412 (Reply 11):
I read it the same as how Mariner reads it too - you have choices ( ~ "allows you to choose"), which you can choose to view and listen to as and when you want to ( ~ "on demand")...

Maybe you Kiwis are just weird.   

In all seriousness though, maybe I do read too much into this but I just find their whole website ''sprachlich unausgereift''. LH's website doesn't read like that at all. If it weren't the first time I noticed something like that, I probably wouldn't have posted it. The Jeju Air website linked above is pretty funny to me too. I don't expect every German or Korean to speak flawless English, but this isn't about the person behind it. It's about them being a business and as such, should pony up for a translator.

In the same sense that you would maybe paint your house yourself, but not your office. That you wear different clothes at home than to work. That you speak differently to superiors than to your friends. I just think it's bad conduct.
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:05 pm

Quoting chootie (Reply 12):
Quoting something (Reply 8):
LH on the other hand seems to hire native speakers for their communications

....can´t tell you how many times I have come across the word "information" in a very incorrect way. Never Ever put an "s" at the end of infomation to pluralize the word, because it is both singular and plural in a sense with out the "s" depending on context.

Another example that I notice frequently is the word "aircrafts" which doesn't exist in English. Aircraft is both singular and plural, unlike airplane and airplanes.

Another common incorrect usage for non-native English speakers is the word "actual", where the similar word in a few other languages (including French and German) is best translated in English as "current" or "presently", but since it looks like "actual" they assume it has the same meaning in English when it has quite a different connotation. There are many words like that, known as "false friends".
 
etoile
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:10 am

Quoting something (Reply 14):
I don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese.

They are written the same.

Quoting something (Reply 14):
How much can hiring a native speaker to translate a website possibly cost?

The cost of having the cost budgeted, finding the translator, having the translator approved as a vendor, having the copy approved, structuring the content management system for the website to deal with the parallel language site, or paying your advertising agency to do all of the above, plus the opportunity cost of not spending the marketing dollars on the audience the airline really wants to target or the parts of the website that most people use.

I notice that the pointy ends of the English version of airberlin.com, such as booking and fares, are just fine. The airline has investors and a budget and they have made a cost-benefit decision. Do you think every maintenance problem is closed on every flight you take?

Quoting infinit (Reply 6):
Although this isn't politically correct, English is for all intents and purposes the de facto language for international communications. I would feel less safe I'm on an airline where their English site has many errors and more so if the support staff and cabin crew don't speak much English. Simply because I may not be able to understand them and in an emergency, a simple miscommunication could be detrimental.

This reminds me somewhat of the mockery that English-speakers aim at "Chinglish" signs in China that have bad or nonsensical English. News alert: Those signs aren't for you. They are marketing signals to the local clientele to demonstrate that the business is sophisticated enough to have English signage.

If an airline really wants to draw English-speaking clients to book flights through the airline's website, it will spiff up its "English" website.

If you want to feel better about flying on an airline where the English isn't up to standard, use Google translate before your flight and memorize the terms in the local language for "exit," "other exit," "brace," "fire," "jump" and "now." Those six short words should cover you and fit on an index card.

[Edited 2012-10-08 21:11:14]
 
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mayor
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:23 am

Seems to me that if you're going to complain about how a website reads in English, you should probably correct any typographical errors in your posts.....otherwise, your credibility goes bad.

Quoting something (Reply 14):
written up my native speakers

Either you left out "by" or my was supposed to be by.

Quoting something (Thread starter):
Quite nice of the on-demand system to let passengers choose what their prefer.

I'm guessing that you meant they and not their................................



To me "on demand" means that the passenger can use the service or not........after deciding to use the service, then they may choose from a wide choice of selections. Our cable service, here has an "on demand" channel, which means I can choose to use it (pay movies, mostly) and once I have, I have many choices.





All of this is in the interest of clarity, you understand.  
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RyanairGuru
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:35 am

Quoting Mr AirNZ (Reply 2):
I really don't see anything wrong with the passage you quote

Me neither. As a native English speaker, I've read the quoted passage 5 times and can't find anything wrong with it

Quoting something (Reply 8):
it just doesn't sound right

If I say it out loud I still can't find any issue

Quoting something (Thread starter):
programme

I'd suggest that this is a clue that it is, in fact, a professional translation by someone with a relatively intimate knowledge of British-English. A translation software would have used "program".
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
ACEregular
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:51 am

Just being pedantic but are you familiar with the term AVOD? Do you know what it means?

Audio/Video on demand.

So what is wrong with an airline saying just that on it's English website? I just don't get it.
 
Rafabozzolla
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:32 am

Quoting chootie (Reply 12):
....can´t tell you how many times I have come across the word "information" in a very incorrect way. Never Ever put an "s" at the end of information to pluralize the word, because it is both singular and plural in a sense with out the "s" depending on context.

Actually (using it as "in fact" and avoiding the "false friend" trap LOL) the term is mass, uncountable (British English) or non-count (American English) noun. The term is used for words that are neither singular, nor plural but rather indicate and abstract, undefinable quantity that, therefore, cannot be counted. If you need to pluralize such nouns units of measurement are needed, e.g. "bits of information" or "claps of thunder"
 
Rafabozzolla
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:34 pm

And, of course, I found a typo in my last post! LOL

Quoting Rafabozzolla (Reply 20):
nor plural but rather indicate and abstrac

Please read "an abstract amount"
 
shufflemoomin
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:39 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 17):
Seems to me that if you're going to complain about how a website reads in English, you should probably correct any typographical errors in your posts.....otherwise, your credibility goes bad.

Well, since you're going down that route, those "dots" you use to imply a pause are called ellipses, and there's only three of them...no more,no less.
 
taichen
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:27 pm

Well, if you find that translation bad enough, then you haven't yet seen anything. Many airlines do a fairly bad work at translating their media material , and of course you can find plentiful examples, ranging from "pretty bad" to "laughable" or just "ununderstable" ... more if you read airline websites in other languages such as Spanish. As a thumb rule, I try to read the web/magazine/brochure / whatever in the airline home language, providing I can understand it, of course, but luckily I can read in Portuguese, English, French, Italian and German (in decreasing confidence level) besides my native language which is Spanish.
 
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mayor
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:04 pm

Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 22):

Well, since you're going down that route, those "dots" you use to imply a pause are called ellipses, and there's only three of them...no more,no less.

Well, I've quite often done things to excess...why should this be any different?  
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
Viscount724
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RE: Airlines' English Websites

Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:22 pm

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 18):
Quoting Mr AirNZ (Reply 2):
I really don't see anything wrong with the passage you quote

Me neither. As a native English speaker, I've read the quoted passage 5 times and can't find anything wrong with it

Same for me. I've seen much worse. Even if that passage had appeared in the website for an airline from an English-speaking country, I wouldn't have noticed anything unusual.

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