Monday, 20 August 2007

Lost in translation...

Google Translate is a handy tool to use, (it can translate an entire web address if you enter the URL) although of course it's not perfect.

I just have to wonder how much gets lost in translation!

This post references my 'Why Let Students Blog' presentation (which is thankfully currently undergoing a 2.0 remix - the more I see it the more I dislike it!)
.... cue Google translate and you get this (French to English) which most of you will actually be able to read!

Here is the translated text:

The need to write is a curiosity of knowing what one will find. (Alain)

Just in time for the school re-entry, I discover this video of Rachel Boyd who enumerates the reasons for which the pupils would owe bloguer (T-Notes: Why let students blog?). I particularly retain the reference to convince my pupils of the utility of the school blogists, knowing that the image has a considerable teaching impact. In this time of total communications, the word of a professor, very factitious that it appears in the class, unfortunately lost of its gloss.

One will reproach the video for missing glare, just as the stepping of certain ideas. A criticism received well by its author who works with a version 2.0. While waiting, and always to exploit the force of the image, here a translation of the evoked reasons (click on the image for an enlarging):

The post and the comment supporting it (translated version below) makes me wonder has the message been lost in translation??

I do not know why I remain perplexed vis-a-vis the enumeration of all the these “advantages”.

If I arrived with that to convince Profs to leave the pupils bloguer (or webber!!! , because one can remplaçer the blog by the clavardage, the email, the creation of Web pages, the exercise of the wiki, etc), it seems to me that they would accomodate the whole politely, but they would remain about it there. The Web has been there for more than 13 years, and the school does nothing but consume it.

The problem, these are not the advantages that one withdraws to be in a state of training (it does not matter what one learns), but the fact that the school is not perhaps any more the place where really significant trainings make…

Where are the pupils who, a few years ago, bloguaient like, for example, the small carnetiers of the Duty?

The school blogist? BOF… it is worthwhile right if one removes the “school” word i.e all that is attached to a ridiculous evaluation/tri measurement/.

At this beginning of re-entry, I do not have too the heart with the rejoicing.

By Gilles G. Jobin August 19, 2007 12:41 PM

I left MY comment (twice actually - DUH!) on the site seeking clarification and stating my actual intentions:

Hi there,

You have written an interesting post. However, it is a little hard for me to completely understand as I have had to use a translation tool to assist me.

You are right that I am working on a version 2.0... am I correct in thinking that you do not like the way the images have the colour reduced?

I have never been happy with my choice of text for the presentation as it is hard to read. My initial thoughts were to tone down the colour in the images so as not to detract from the message.

I would be interested in your opinion.

The argument is not for blogging to replace teachers, nor good teaching.... rather to allow students the opportunity to share their thoughts, opinions and more with an authentic, world-wide audience.

Kind regards,
Rachel Boyd, New Zealand

But one has to wonder.... will THIS message also be lost in translation from English to French??


  1. It is pretty funny to see how things have been translated! At least you know your blog is being read (even if the comprehension part of reading isn't happening!). It is a bit of a worry to see you can be grossly misquoted...

  2. For the sake of clarity, I thought I translate it (by hand). There is always something lost in translation, by humans. So much more by computers.

    Here is the main post:
    Just in time for back to school, I've found this video of Rachel Boyd giving the reasons why students should be blogging. I'm keeping the reference, especially when it comes to convincing my colleagues of the usefulness for school blogs, knowing how image has a notable pedagogical impact. In these days of global communication, the words of a teacher, which might sound artificial in class, lost its glamour.

    Some will say this video is not too flashy, as are some of the links between ideas; critique which has been well received by the author, who is working on a 2.0 version. In the meanwhile, keeping in mind the power of image, here is a translation of the reasons given.

    There is also this diaporama created by Rohit Bhargava, which I found on Rachel Boyd's site, describing 25 type of blog posts, as an example of this tool versatility and usefulness.
    And Mr Jobin's comment:
    I am perplexed by this list of "benefits".

    If I used that to convince teachers to let their students blog (or web, for that matter, since we can change blogging by chatting, emailing, creating webpages, working on wikis, etc.), I think they'd be polite, but nothing would come of it. The Web has been there for 13 years, and school is just consumming it.

    The problem is not the benefits of being in a state of learning (whatever we're learning), but the fact that school might not be the best place to get significant learning...

    Where have gone the students who, a few years ago, were blogging, for instance the "les petits carnetiers du Devoir"?

    School blog? Bah, it's only worth it if we get rid of the word "school," i.e. all that is linked to that ridicule evaluation/measure/sorting.

    With school back, I'm not particularly overjoyed.
    I apologized to both François and Gilles for this unauthorized translation and any errors I might have made in trying to convey their meaning.

  3. Sur le blogue de Rachel Boyd :

    My sincere apologies for all this procrastination, which is why I’m grateful to Marc André for translating the original post. Much had been lost in the translation, indeed.

    The gist of the matter is that I was greatly impressed with all the reasons you put forward for letting the students blog. I believe the videoclip will have a splendid effect on my students as we provide them with their own blog. Since my readers are mostly French-speaking, I took the time to translate the reasons and present them in a mind map.

    However, I did raise the issue of looks. In what amounts to a very mild critique, I mentioned that the video would be more appealing if only it had a teeny bit more pizzazz. But then, everyone’s a critic.

    Thanks for sharing your creativity.


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