Post by Paul Wolff Post by Paul Wolff Post by Athel Cornish-Bowden Post by Dr. Jai Maharaj
Jean-Claude Juncker: 'English is losing importance'
The European Commission president opted to deliver a
speech in Florence in French.
By Ryan Heath
Friday, May 5, 2017
Florence -- Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission
president, opted to deliver a speech in French on Friday
morning because he said "English is losing importance" in
It's worth noting that when the newly elected President of France and
the Chancellor of Germany met yesterday they spoke to one another in
English, without an interpreter. If Mr Juncker thinks that's not going
to happen more and more he's totally out of touch with reality.
We're going to get (a form of) the European "Unitary Patent" soon. If
it's to be granted in French or German, it will be compulsory to supply
an English translation. If it's granted in English, it will be
compulsory to supply a translation into any other language (of the
participating member states) that the patent owner chooses.
The only purpose I can think of right now of having this second
language requirement is to prevent the applicant from saving money by
choosing English to start with. I look forward to seeing the
translations into Maltese.
There is a sensible reason, it turns out. The EU has set a high
priority on achieving high quality, usable machine translation in the
next few years (not more than twelve) - not surprising, given the
number of languages it has to translate between. The high quality human
translations of English-language patents into other languages "should
contribute to the training of translation engines".
When these translation engines start contributing to a.u.e, we can sit
up and take notice. I just hope they don't pick up personality problems.
I wonder if there is a connection with something I've been puzzled by.
In recent months I've had three requests for permission (hardly needed)
to translate web pages of mine into other languages, two in the past
month. The first was to translate something into Latvian. I'd be
surprised if any Latvian speakers would really want to read it, but if
Skitt were still around I'd ask him about the quality of the Latvian.
The second one, a month or so ago, wanted to translate the same page
into Roumanian. The third one, this week, wanted to translate an
obsolete version of the same page into Swedish, but I bet that anyone
interested enough to read it in Swedish could read it with no
difficulty in English.
So what's the point? Is some organization setting these as exercises?
Is it just by chance that they all concern either the same page or an
obsolete version of it?
In the Latvian and Roumanian cases there was really nothing I could say
(other than yes, go ahead). In the Swedish case the translator is
apparently French, not Swedish, and I noticed that she had translated
the name of a publisher (which consists of two everyday words) into
Swedish. I suggested that it was usual to leave proper names unchanged:
she agreed and has corrected it.