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Loose tongues and oily seamen: Lost in machine translation yet again

Benson's Cycle

Simultaneous translators have problems with German where speakers the verb at the end often and without consideration for the translator put.

But my favourite simultaneous translation story relates to a conference at which a Bulgarian speaker got up and launched into a diatribe full of Marxist-Leninist jargon. Other translators struggled through, but the French translator simply repeated over and over again "French is a precise language and has no way of conveying what the speaker is saying."

I have heard it suggested (by a French engineer, of course) that if a business expression cannot be converted into immediately clear French, then it is not worth the bother.

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