Re: OT: excellent book on information theory

Discussion in 'Python' started by Terry Hancock, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 12:15:25 -0500
    "Tim Peters" <> wrote:
    > You should enjoy:
    >
    > http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/books/differences.html
    >
    > and especially the links near the bottom to
    > try-to-be-exhaustive listings of all differences between
    > the Bloomsbury (UK) and Scholastic (US) editions. More
    > "Britishisms" are surviving in the Scholastic editions as
    > the series goes on, but as the list for Half-Blood Prince
    > shows the editors still make an amazing number of
    > seemingly pointless changes:
    >
    > http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/books/hbp/differences-hbp.html
    >
    > like:
    >
    > UK: Harry smiled vaguely back
    > US: Harry smiled back vaguely


    I know you are pointing out the triviality of this, since
    both US and UK English allow either placement -- but is it
    really preferred style in the UK to put the adverb right
    before the verb? In US English, the end of the clause
    (or the beginning) is probably more common.

    This actually gets back on topic ( ;-) ), because it might
    affect the localization of a Python interactive fiction
    module I'm working on -- it's a GUI to generate "sentences"
    that are comprehensible to the IF engine. My base locale
    (which would be "en" or maybe "en_US") uses the order:

    "subj verb dobj prep iobj advb"
    (subject) (verb) (direct object) (preposition) (indirect
    object) (adverb).

    The order is forced by the GUI, for usability reasons, but
    I'm planning to make it part of the localization. (For
    example I currently imagine the Japanese locale would use:
    "subj dobj prep advb verb" with "preposition" glossed as
    "particle", which is usually pretty accurate).

    Using a meaningful adverb at all is kind of unusual, but it
    mates fairly well with new fuzzy logic concepts inside in
    the IF engine. I stuck the adverb at the end as the most
    natural sounding place to my ear.

    Should the locale en_UK use instead:

    "subj advb verb dobj prep iobj"

    ?

    E.g.:

    en_US:
    "Sally, gently put flower in basket"

    vs

    en_UK:
    "Sally, put flower in basket gently"

    > Non-English translations have real challenges, and because
    > this series is more popular than the Python Reference
    > Manual these days, there's a lot of fascinating info to be
    > found. For example, I think the Japanese translator
    > deserves a Major Award for their heroic attempt to
    > translate Ron's "Uranus" pun:
    >
    > http://www.cjvlang.com/Hpotter/wordplay/uranus.html


    That's a terrific site, BTW, thanks for posting it.

    Cheers,
    Terry


    --
    Terry Hancock ()
    Anansi Spaceworks http://www.AnansiSpaceworks.com
     
    Terry Hancock, Jan 18, 2006
    #1
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  2. Terry Hancock wrote:
    "Tim Peters" <> wrote:
    >> UK: Harry smiled vaguely back
    >> US: Harry smiled back vaguely


    Terry Hancock wrote:
    > I know you are pointing out the triviality of this, since
    > both US and UK English allow either placement -- but is it
    > really preferred style in the UK to put the adverb right
    > before the verb? In US English, the end of the clause
    > (or the beginning) is probably more common.


    I appreciate your desire to put the thread on (Python) topic, but as I
    see this discussion, it really has to do with respect for the author,
    but also respect for the reader. The UK version is most likely the way
    the author intended it to be. Then that is the way the text should be,
    regardless if it is preferred style or not, under the assumption that
    English is English is English.

    One question here is: Are US English and UK English different languages
    or not? If they are, a translation is in place. If they are not, the
    text should have been left as is. I guess the answer is:
    -Well, sort of...
    And that is probably the reason why opinions differ here, and also the
    reason why the American publisher has made some changes, but left most
    parts unchanged.

    A related important question is: Does the US version communicate the
    same thing (meaning aswell as feeling) to the American reader as the UK
    version communicates to the British reader? That should always be the
    objective for any translator. It also means that if the author in the UK
    version uses non-standard UK English, then the US version should use
    non-standard US English.

    /MiO
     
    Mikael Olofsson, Jan 19, 2006
    #2
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  3. Mikael Olofsson wrote:

    > A related important question is: Does the US version communicate the
    > same thing (meaning aswell as feeling) to the American reader as the UK
    > version communicates to the British reader? That should always be the
    > objective for any translator.


    fwiw, the Swedish Dan Brown translator fixed lots of glitches and inconsistencies
    without even checking with Brown; the sheer number of trivial errors made it ob-
    vious to him that it wasn't some clever literary device; Brown had just been careless.

    now, does a cleaned-up Brown communicate the same meaning/feeling to a Swede
    (or other european) as an inaccurate Brown does to an American ?

    has Brown's works been translated to British English, btw ?

    </F>
     
    Fredrik Lundh, Jan 19, 2006
    #3
  4. Terry Hancock

    Kent Johnson Guest

    Mikael Olofsson wrote:

    > One question here is: Are US English and UK English different languages
    > or not? If they are, a translation is in place. If they are not, the
    > text should have been left as is. I guess the answer is:
    > -Well, sort of...
    > And that is probably the reason why opinions differ here, and also the
    > reason why the American publisher has made some changes, but left most
    > parts unchanged.


    The company I work for sells computer-based training courses. We
    consider UK English to be a separate localization and sell some courses
    in both US and UK versions.

    Kent
     
    Kent Johnson, Jan 19, 2006
    #4
  5. Terry Hancock

    Dave Hansen Guest

    On Thu, 19 Jan 2006 15:04:51 +0100 in comp.lang.python, Mikael
    Olofsson <> wrote:

    >Terry Hancock wrote:
    >"Tim Peters" <> wrote:
    >>> UK: Harry smiled vaguely back
    >>> US: Harry smiled back vaguely

    >
    >Terry Hancock wrote:
    >> I know you are pointing out the triviality of this, since
    >> both US and UK English allow either placement -- but is it
    >> really preferred style in the UK to put the adverb right
    >> before the verb? In US English, the end of the clause
    >> (or the beginning) is probably more common.


    Indeed, the UK version (stripped of context) means something
    completely different than the US ("vaguely" modifies "back" rather
    than "smiled."). At least, to this American.

    >
    >I appreciate your desire to put the thread on (Python) topic, but as I
    >see this discussion, it really has to do with respect for the author,
    >but also respect for the reader. The UK version is most likely the way
    >the author intended it to be. Then that is the way the text should be,
    >regardless if it is preferred style or not, under the assumption that
    >English is English is English.
    >


    I've not read any of the books, but from the critiques I've read,
    Rowling's skills as a writer in no way match (and indeed, often
    interfere with) her gifts as a storyteller.

    Sometimes a writer needs an editor.

    Regards,
    -=Dave

    --
    Change is inevitable, progress is not.
     
    Dave Hansen, Jan 19, 2006
    #5
  6. Terry Hancock

    David H Wild Guest

    In article <dqo64n$6vo$>,
    Mikael Olofsson <> wrote:
    > One question here is: Are US English and UK English different languages
    > or not?


    A few years ago I was in a French bookshop in London. On the counter was a
    leaflet advertising recent translations; some were "from the English" and
    others "from the American". :))

    --
    David Wild using RISC OS on broadband
     
    David H Wild, Jan 19, 2006
    #6
  7. On 2006-01-19, David H Wild <> wrote:
    > In article <dqo64n$6vo$>,
    > Mikael Olofsson <> wrote:
    >> One question here is: Are US English and UK English different languages
    >> or not?

    >
    > A few years ago I was in a French bookshop in London. On the counter was a
    > leaflet advertising recent translations; some were "from the English" and
    > others "from the American". :))


    I guess I'm bilingual after all!

    What the hell, though perhaps not fluent enough to be confused
    with a native, I can get by in Australian as well. I'm going
    to start claiming I'm trilingual.

    --
    Grant Edwards grante Yow! .. I don't understand
    at the HUMOR of the THREE
    visi.com STOOGES!!
     
    Grant Edwards, Jan 19, 2006
    #7
  8. On Thu, 19 Jan 2006 15:04:51 +0100, Mikael Olofsson wrote:

    > One question here is: Are US English and UK English different languages
    > or not? If they are, a translation is in place. If they are not, the
    > text should have been left as is. I guess the answer is:
    > -Well, sort of...


    That's the sort of question which you should be asking a linguist. I'm
    told that linguists do NOT consider US English and UK English different
    languages, but merely different variants of English.

    And of course, "standard UK English" and "standard US English" are hardly
    spoken by anyone in the UK or US respectively. Both countries have dozens
    of different dialects and variants.

    But the real question is why it is that American publishers believe their
    readers are so lazy and ignorant that they require special "translations"
    of British books. I don't know anyone who has said "I'm glad that I read
    the American edition of [Harry Potter/Discworld/pick your own example], it
    was much better than the British edition." Not even American fans.


    --
    Steven.
     
    Steven D'Aprano, Jan 21, 2006
    #8
  9. On 2006-01-21, Steven D'Aprano <> wrote:

    >> One question here is: Are US English and UK English different languages
    >> or not? If they are, a translation is in place. If they are not, the
    >> text should have been left as is. I guess the answer is:
    >> -Well, sort of...

    >
    > That's the sort of question which you should be asking a
    > linguist. I'm told that linguists do NOT consider US English
    > and UK English different languages, but merely different
    > variants of English.
    >
    > And of course, "standard UK English" and "standard US English"
    > are hardly spoken by anyone in the UK or US respectively. Both
    > countries have dozens of different dialects and variants.
    >
    > But the real question is why it is that American publishers
    > believe their readers are so lazy and ignorant that they
    > require special "translations" of British books. I don't know
    > anyone who has said "I'm glad that I read the American edition
    > of [Harry Potter/Discworld/pick your own example], it was much
    > better than the British edition." Not even American fans.


    The next thing you know, there are going to be American
    translations of Jane Austin where a girl says to her sister
    "dude, he is such a hottie!" and she replies "oh my god, for
    sure!"

    --
    Grant Edwards grante Yow! Intra-mural sports
    at results are filtering
    visi.com through th' plumbing...
     
    Grant Edwards, Jan 21, 2006
    #9
  10. Terry Hancock

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Grant Edwards <> writes:
    > The next thing you know, there are going to be American
    > translations of Jane Austin where a girl says to her sister
    > "dude, he is such a hottie!" and she replies "oh my god, for
    > sure!"


    I actually heard that the US film version of Pride and Prejudice
    finished with a treacly happy-ending scene (unlike other countries'
    versions, and the book). I haven't confirmed this.
     
    Paul Rubin, Jan 21, 2006
    #10
  11. Terry Hancock

    Steve Holden Guest

    Grant Edwards wrote:
    > On 2006-01-21, Steven D'Aprano <> wrote:

    [...]
    >>But the real question is why it is that American publishers
    >>believe their readers are so lazy and ignorant that they
    >>require special "translations" of British books. I don't know
    >>anyone who has said "I'm glad that I read the American edition
    >>of [Harry Potter/Discworld/pick your own example], it was much
    >>better than the British edition." Not even American fans.

    >
    >
    > The next thing you know, there are going to be American
    > translations of Jane Austin where a girl says to her sister
    > "dude, he is such a hottie!" and she replies "oh my god, for
    > sure!"
    >

    Like, gag me with a spoon, dude.

    regards
    Steve
    --
    Steve Holden +44 150 684 7255 +1 800 494 3119
    Holden Web LLC www.holdenweb.com
    PyCon TX 2006 www.python.org/pycon/
     
    Steve Holden, Jan 21, 2006
    #11
  12. On 2006-01-21, Paul Rubin <http> wrote:

    >> The next thing you know, there are going to be American
    >> translations of Jane Austen where a girl says to her sister
    >> "dude, he is such a hottie!" and she replies "oh my god, for
    >> sure!"

    >
    > I actually heard that the US film version of Pride and Prejudice
    > finished with a treacly happy-ending scene (unlike other countries'
    > versions, and the book). I haven't confirmed this.


    It does. The movie ends with a scene that reminded me very much
    of the end of John Hughes' "Sixteen Candles"[1] where the
    couple (Elizibeth and Darcy) are sitting there at night in a
    romantic setting looking at each other all googly-eyed saying
    sweet things and then there's a nice long kiss. Very un-Austen
    I thought.

    IMO, it should have ended with the scene where Mr. Bennett said
    to Mrs. Bennet that should any more young men come to propose
    to his daughters to show them in. Not really directly out of
    the book, but it had the right feel to it. I suppose if you
    want to be more true to the book, you'd have to have a narrator
    do a sort of general summing-up like Austen does in the last
    chapter, but it would have been awkward to introduce a narrator
    at that point.

    [1] Not that I'm dissing "Sixteen Candles". I actally like that
    movie quite a bit, but it's not pretending to be Jane Austen.

    --
    Grant Edwards grante Yow! I am a jelly donut. I
    at am a jelly donut.
    visi.com
     
    Grant Edwards, Jan 21, 2006
    #12
  13. Terry Hancock

    David H Wild Guest

    In article <>,
    Steven D'Aprano <> wrote:
    > But the real question is why it is that American publishers believe
    > their readers are so lazy and ignorant that they require special
    > "translations" of British books. I don't know anyone who has said "I'm
    > glad that I read the American edition of [Harry Potter/Discworld/pick
    > your own example], it was much better than the British edition." Not
    > even American fans.


    Something which irritates me, along with many other British people, is a
    book written in UK English, but which uses US spelling "for the American
    market". If people can understand the words, then the slight differences in
    spelling shouldn't be a problem.

    --
    David Wild using RISC OS on broadband
     
    David H Wild, Jan 21, 2006
    #13
  14. Terry Hancock

    Tom Anderson Guest

    Slow and to the pointless, but ...

    On Wed, 18 Jan 2006, Terry Hancock wrote:

    > On Mon, 16 Jan 2006 12:15:25 -0500
    > "Tim Peters" <> wrote:
    >
    >> More "Britishisms" are surviving in the Scholastic editions as the
    >> series goes on, but as the list for Half-Blood Prince shows the editors
    >> still make an amazing number of seemingly pointless changes: like:
    >>
    >> UK: Harry smiled vaguely back
    >> US: Harry smiled back vaguely

    >
    > I know you are pointing out the triviality of this, since both US and UK
    > English allow either placement -- but is it really preferred style in
    > the UK to put the adverb right before the verb?


    For the meaning which i assume is meant here, no, i wouldn't have said so.

    > In US English, the end of the clause (or the beginning) is probably more
    > common.


    Same in British English (or at least, English English).

    As Dave Hansen pointed out, "Harry smiled vaguely back", means that the
    direction Harry was smiling was vaguely back - might have been a bit to
    the side or something.

    > This actually gets back on topic ( ;-) ), because it might affect the
    > localization of a Python interactive fiction module I'm working on --
    > it's a GUI to generate "sentences" that are comprehensible to the IF
    > engine.


    My guess would be that you're going to need something far more powerful
    than a localisation engine for this.

    > en_US:
    > "Sally, gently put flower in basket"
    >
    > vs
    >
    > en_UK:
    > "Sally, put flower in basket gently"


    That example isn't as bad as the Rowling one (although the lack of
    articles is a bit odd); i think i'd only use the latter form if i wanted
    to put particular emphasis on the 'gently', particularly if it was as a
    modified repetition of a previous sentence:

    Instructor: Sally, put a flower in the basket.
    [Sally roughly puts the flower in the basket, crushing it]
    Instructor: Sally, put a flower in the basket *gently*.

    Your second construction isn't the equivalent of the Rowling sentence,
    though, where the adverb goes right after the verb; that would make it
    "Sally, put gently the flower in the basket", which would be completely
    awful. Or maybe it would be "Sally, put the flower gently in the basket",
    which would be fine, although a bit dated - has an admittedly euphonious
    1950s BBC English feel to it.

    tom

    --
    It's the 21st century, man - we rue _minutes_. -- Benjamin Rosenbaum
     
    Tom Anderson, Jan 21, 2006
    #14
  15. On Sat, 21 Jan 2006 21:01:53 +0000, Tom Anderson wrote:

    > As Dave Hansen pointed out, "Harry smiled vaguely back", means that the
    > direction Harry was smiling was vaguely back - might have been a bit to
    > the side or something.


    That's an extremely artificial interpretation of the sentence, even if it
    is grammatically possible. Who talks about smiling in a physical
    direction? Does anyone ever say "He smiled forward" or "She smiled
    north-by-north-east" or "She smiled to the side"?

    The only thing even close to what you're talking about is "He smiled out
    of the corner (or side) of his mouth" -- not the same thing at all.

    "Smiled vaguely back" is a clumsy construction, and any decent editor
    should change it to "smiled back vaguely" regardless of whether they are
    from the US or UK. But clumsy or not, you're really pushing the envelope
    to get the interpretation that he smiled in a direction which was
    vaguely back.

    Yes, the sentence "He smiled vaguely back" is grammatically ambiguous, but
    semantically can have only one meaning: he returned a smile, but his smile
    was vague.

    "He vaguely smiled back" suffers the same fate. It too can imply that the
    smile was vague, or that the smile was only vaguely in return. Both
    interpretations are grammatically possible, but the second is semantically
    dubious. A good editor from any country is supposed to weed out clumsy,
    confusing sentences like that, and replace them with the grammatically
    unambiguous equivalent "he smiled back vaguely". This isn't a localisation
    issue, it is a command of language issue.


    --
    Steven.
     
    Steven D'Aprano, Jan 21, 2006
    #15
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