Monday, June 20, 2016

Hilarious Translation Failures

I studied Chinese for a while (I still should be studying Chinese, actually, but I'm being incredibly lazy), and one of my favorite things about studying a foreign language was all the opportunities for humor. I completely empathize with the poor souls who are guilty of making these translation mistakes:

credit: imgur



credit: engrish

So what are your funny lost-in-translation stories?

Why I Sometimes Ignore Professional Editors

I've been writing professionally for a few years now. When I first started, I tried to apply every single suggestion editors gave me. That was a horrible thing to do. There are some important reasons why writers should sometimes ignore even the most seasoned professional editor:

Editors Are Full of Opinions

Oftentimes, an editor may state something in a matter of fact manner when it fact she's actually just stating an opinion. This may have to do with paragraph length, comma usage, verbiage, or practically anything else. The changes these editors make do not actually improve the quality of the piece. These are merely horizontal changes, and they are a waste of time. When I am editing, I try to focus on improving the quality of the piece, not on changing things to suit my personal preference.

I'm not saying this as a rant against any particular order, but I do lament that so many editors are so insistent on their opinions.

Editors Can Be Wrong

I've come across many professionally published pieces with some ugly errors in them. Maybe the editor was tired, in a bad mood, or simply didn't care. Also, writers, like anyone else, can become confused about what exactly a piece is supposed to accomplish. I have had editors make changes to my work that actually decreased the quality of the piece by adding in awkward phrases or incorrect punctuation use. Shudder.

Writers Are Also Full of Opinions

To be fair to editors, writers are also full of their own ideas about how things should be done. I have strong opinions about things like comma usage—including the much-debated Oxford comma—em dashes, title case, semicolons, and a bunch of other stuff. English is an idiotic language, but it is beautiful in that it opens the gateway for such intense and harmless arguments as the ones that relate to punctuation.

A lot of people say that writers need to have thick skins. I don't think that's true. I think writers simply need to recognize that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Sometimes these opinions help writers grow, but other times it simply isn't worth the time.

To all you editors out there, I don't mean to be insulting. I'm an editor myself. But, seriously, don't knock a writer for having a different way of seeing things than you do.

There is probably at least one editing error in this blog post. I make no apologies for that.