• Herman (unregistered)

    As a german, busy with electronics, having been to eastern europe, I had to giggle quite a lot.

  • foo (unregistered)

    Frist Effect Transistor?

  • Black Bart (unregistered)

    “Make sure they know to take extra care of the FET"

    How could they get this wrong? Anyone in the industry knows that even taking extra care of the FETT (Flux) would mean to ensure that there is extra care in removing the flux. Otherwise FET is commonly mistranslated Frist Effeminate Comment.

  • no laughing matter (cs)
    HTML comments:
    Schwierigkeitmacher "Problem Maker." This is what happens when you give Ellis a German submission.
    Yes, you get what the title promises - a translation error.

    It's either Schwierigkeitenmacher oder Problemmacher - the latter being much more common, as a simple check on Google shows.

  • PoPSiCLe (unregistered)

    I call fake. Even incompetent Eastern European factory workers need to have basic understanding of the components they work with (or, at least I assume).

    And a FET and a Zener diode are technical terms which should be understandable regardless of language. So, what I'm ending up with here is either: useless translators (with no electrical engineering knowledge), or overzealous translators translating everything, even techincal terms which should be defined on some sort of diagram, somewhere. Didn't these guys get a scheme of what they were building?

    CAPTCHA: transverbero - yeah, pretty much

  • QJo (unregistered)

    I recently spent a few months in a city in French-speaking area of Canada. I stopped opening doors for people when every single person told me I was "messy".

    Then again, they also stopped opening doors for me, when all I could find to say to them was " 'k you".

  • QJo (unregistered) in reply to PoPSiCLe
    PoPSiCLe:
    I call fake. Even incompetent Eastern European factory workers need to have basic understanding of the components they work with (or, at least I assume).

    And a FET and a Zener diode are technical terms which should be understandable regardless of language. So, what I'm ending up with here is either: useless translators (with no electrical engineering knowledge), or overzealous translators translating everything, even techincal terms which should be defined on some sort of diagram, somewhere. Didn't these guys get a scheme of what they were building?

    CAPTCHA: transverbero - yeah, pretty much

    I would suggest it was using translators with general knowledge, but not the full technical knowledge required for such a position. Such people are remarkably difficult to find. The task of determining whether such translators as have been found are actually up to this task is also difficult. Maybe the agency who found these translation staff had been outsourced?

  • My name (unregistered) in reply to QJo

    Famous footballer's quote: "When he called me a 'pardon', I lost it!"

  • jaffa creole (unregistered)

    Yeah, it seems fishy that they wouldn't have schematics that made sense to people in both languages. The easiest way across a language barrier is to gesticulate or point at a picture. If you say, "Take care of the FET" and the guy reacts to the translator like you just said something preposterous, you point at the FET on the schematic and say "this thing. We've had problems with them in the past."

  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to PoPSiCLe
    PoPSiCLe:
    I call fake. Even incompetent Eastern European factory workers need to have basic understanding of the components they work with (or, at least I assume).
    I disagree - the people soldering components onto boards for a prototype series will usually not have the necessary understanding to detect a bad translation. I would doubt that even for the foremen.

    But the story reminds of one where I acted as the translater. The company I worked for had outsourced the production of a small metal pin with a tilted top on one side. My job was to translate between their engineer (who didn't speak english) and our team re the angle of the tilted top.

    What surprised me was that they needed to discuss the angle although they had been sent detailed blueprints and during the telephone call we basically assured them that yes, that was what we wanted.

    And I, until that time, had always assumed that blueprints represented something like non-negotiable, hard facts.

  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to QJo
    QJo:
    I would suggest it was using translators with general knowledge, but not the full technical knowledge required for such a position. Such people are remarkably difficult to find.
    And they are expensive. I doubt that a company in eastern Europe that had been picked for the lower production cost is willing to fork out top money for their translators.
  • Your Momma (unregistered) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    QJo:
    I would suggest it was using translators with general knowledge, but not the full technical knowledge required for such a position. Such people are remarkably difficult to find.
    And they are expensive. I doubt that a company in eastern Europe that had been picked for the lower production cost is willing to fork out top money for their translators.

    Very expensive. You're looking for someone with a degree in engineering and fluency in 2 languages.

  • OzPeter (cs)

    Reminds me of an engineering job I did in Siberia. We had 2 Russian translators, one who spoke English pretty well but had no technical knowledge (and was fond of using his hard hat as a hammer to crack walnuts), and the other who new the technical side but whose English was pretty bad. Fortunately our team had a bunch of Polish engineers who were tri-lingual in Polish, English and Russian.

  • skotl (cs)

    I call fake (or at least some poetic license), too. Even accepting that the assembly line workers don't need to understand the intricacies of this FET over that, or a zener diode over some other kind of diode, I can't see an electronics manufacturer immersing circuits in either fat or grease (both of which are conductive).

  • Bobby Tables (cs) in reply to PoPSiCLe
    PoPSiCLe:
    So, what I'm ending up with here is either: useless translators (with no electrical engineering knowledge), or overzealous translators translating everything, even techincal terms

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't both of these types of translators "useless"?

  • Mike (unregistered)

    I'm not buying this. Someone just invented a story after a bored day messing about on google translator.

    captcha = validus, more like invalidus

  • pjt33 (cs) in reply to QJo
    QJo:
    I would suggest it was using translators with general knowledge
    You're optimistic!
  • mortfurd (unregistered) in reply to PoPSiCLe
    PoPSiCLe:
    I call fake. Even incompetent Eastern European factory workers need to have basic understanding of the components they work with (or, at least I assume).

    And a FET and a Zener diode are technical terms which should be understandable regardless of language. So, what I'm ending up with here is either: useless translators (with no electrical engineering knowledge), or overzealous translators translating everything, even techincal terms which should be defined on some sort of diagram, somewhere. Didn't these guys get a scheme of what they were building?

    CAPTCHA: transverbero - yeah, pretty much

    You assume wrong. I've worked in a factory where 2-way radios were built. The folks putting most of the parts on the boards knew ZIP about electronics. They had bins with parts, and a display that said which bin to take a part from. There was then a computer controlled pointer that aimed a spot of light at the board to indicate where to put it. I assume there was some kind of indicator as to which way to put things in so that diodes wouldn't go in backwards, but I don't know for sure. I was in test and repair with a bunch of other techs, who all did know a good bit about electronics.

    Most of the folks putting parts on the boards were house wives who lived close to the factory and needed to earn extra money.

    Two stories:

    1. The factory built pagers. The workers putting parts on them heard that they were radios of some kind. Several finished pagers were swiped by workers expecting to be able to listen to local radio stations on them.

    2. I was adjusting the filters on the output side of the trasmitters one day. On the radios at that time, that meant stretching and twisting the coils in the filter. Radios started failing tests on the transmitter - too much power output outside that proper band, or too much wasted power to generate the required output. Both are signs of improperly adjusted filters. Since I was doing the filters, I knew damned good and well that they were done right when they left my bench. I went over to testing and picked up some of the failed units. All of my carefully stretched and twisted coils had been twisted and unstretched back into the original (useless) shape. You could see where the varnish was wrinkled from where I had adjusted things, but the otherwise the parts looked like they'd never been adjusted. What had happened was this: The coils have to be "fixed" with epoxy to hold their adjusted position. One of the women who was supposed fix the coils was straightening them and then fixing them. She thought the adjusted coils looked horribly untidy, and straightened them out. I got to redo a day's production because of that. You couldn't just readjust the coils, either. These were the longer ones that were filled with epoxy. Some of the smaller coils you just crack the epoxy off the outside and go on, but not these. You had to replace the bastards (all three on each board) and then adjust them.

  • mortfurd (unregistered)

    Further: Lötfett and Lötwasser both contain acids and are normally used for heavier work like soldering water pipes. Yo udon't normally use Lötfett in electronics. You might use it to really clean the point of a soldering iron before you coat it with silver solder, but only if you are using an old fashioned soldering iron that has a simple copper tip. Modern soldering irons have tips of special alloys, and you wouldn't need to treat them with silver solder. On the old fashioned ones, the silver solder keeps the point from wearing/burning out as fast as plain copper. In the more modern soldering iron tips, the alloy is specially made so that doesn't happen. It makes them more expensive than the plain copper ones, but you don't have to replace them often and you don't need to teach some unskilled yahoo how to do the thing with the silver solder.

  • Knot this again (unregistered)

    While teaching rope skills in Puerto Rico, we discovered our translator knew very few of the technical terms in EITHER English or Spanish.

    It then became a problem when we'd say something like, "Tell him to move that carabiner to the left" and the translator would go into a 500 word "translation" and neither the word Karabiner nor linke was mentioned. Apparently our translator had taken a rope access class once, in his distant past, and somehow thought that qualified him as an instructor.

    He was fired that day.

  • mortfurd (unregistered)

    Translations:

    1. The user guides for the radios we produced in that German radio factory were originally written (obviously) in German. At one point I got to take a look at the English translations. As an American, I can only assume that the translation from German to English was carried out by a Chinese translator who learned German and English from a poorly educated Japanese translator. I could only make sense of the English "translation" because I had the German original right beside it.

    2. After I left that factory, I worked for small company that did custom radio equipment for police units. On one contract, we had to modify a model of radio that was produced only for the German poilce and was sold only to the German police - in Germany. There is a standard for those radios, and many companies produced them. We needed schematics for this one particular model built by a multinational company. Imagine my surprise when I opened the manual and found, besides the expected German text, translations into English and French - for a piece of equipment that is only used in Germany, can only be used in Germany, by technicians who all speak - surprise - German. I figure the multinational company that built that radio had some rule in place that required all products to have hand books in several languages - and that no one thought to make an exception for this one product.

  • Paul M (unregistered)

    So what you need is to underline technical terms, and direct the translators to not attempt to translate underlined terms.

  • mortfurd (unregistered) in reply to Paul M
    Paul M:
    So what you need is to underline technical terms, and direct the translators to not attempt to translate underlined terms.

    Nah. For the most part you just need a bilingual person who understands what you are talking about and knows the subject. A transator can produce a grammatically correct translation, but it might contain really horrid misunderstandings. Someone who speaks both languages and understands the subject but isn't a translator may screw up the grammar but is almost certain to get the point across correctly.

  • Mike (unregistered) in reply to mortfurd
    mortfurd:
    I figure the multinational company that built that radio had some rule in place that required all products to have hand books in several languages - and that no one thought to make an exception for this one product.

    Almost certainly a legal requirement

  • Robin (unregistered)

    They're not translators. They're interpreters.

  • Steve The Cynic (cs) in reply to mortfurd
    mortfurd:
    2. I was adjusting the filters on the output side of the trasmitters one day. On the radios at that time, that meant stretching and twisting the coils in the filter. Radios started failing tests on the transmitter - too much power output outside that proper band, or too much wasted power to generate the required output. Both are signs of improperly adjusted filters. Since I was doing the filters, I knew damned good and well that they were done right when they left my bench. I went over to testing and picked up some of the failed units. All of my carefully stretched and twisted coils had been twisted and unstretched back into the original (useless) shape. You could see where the varnish was wrinkled from where I had adjusted things, but the otherwise the parts looked like they'd never been adjusted. What had happened was this: The coils have to be "fixed" with epoxy to hold their adjusted position. One of the women who was supposed fix the coils was straightening them and then fixing them. She thought the adjusted coils looked horribly untidy, and straightened them out. I got to redo a day's production because of that. You couldn't just readjust the coils, either. These were the longer ones that were filled with epoxy. Some of the smaller coils you just crack the epoxy off the outside and go on, but not these. You had to replace the bastards (all three on each board) and then adjust them.
    With all due respect(*), the WTF is strong in *you* here. Nobody, not even you, thought to tell the epoxy-adders that the untidy appearance of the parts was correct(**), and so they can reasonably be excused for showing what looks like a certain level of pride in the appearance of their work.

    (*) That is, not very much, sorry. (**) If someone had told them about it, you'd have mentioned it in order to accentuate the WTF-ness of the WTF. You didn't mention it, it didn't happen.

  • dsckeld (cs)

    A whole lot of years ago I were involved in creating a product that were to be internationalised. We did English and german translations ourselves, with a Little bit of help from external people. This went fairly well.

    But when we did some Eastern European translation Things were not as fortunate. We knew nothing of the language so we had to rely on translators. The product had a display with 2 lines of 16 or 20 characters.

    I were very thorough in describing that we needed the translator to make certain that the texts didn't get too long, and described what we were trying to say on each screen, together with the original, English text for the screens.

    The translator just put his head up his ar*e and translated every single Word, dot and comma oin the document, often ending up with 30 character sentenses to show on our 20 character display.

    I were NOT pleased.

  • Spezialpfusch (too lazy to log in) (unregistered) in reply to no laughing matter

    "Schwierigkeitmacher" looks like an attempt to give the German translation of "troublemaker" but it should be "Schwierigkeitenmacher", as was already noted by "no laughing matter".

    In the finger pointing phase after the incident, I suppose that: Der Übersetzer hat sein Fett abbekommen. Sorry for the German-only joke. :-)

  • mortfurd (unregistered) in reply to Steve The Cynic
    Steve The Cynic:
    mortfurd:
    With all due respect(*), the WTF is strong in *you* here. Nobody, not even you, thought to tell the epoxy-adders that the untidy appearance of the parts was correct(**), and so they can reasonably be excused for showing what looks like a certain level of pride in the appearance of their work.

    (*) That is, not very much, sorry. (**) If someone had told them about it, you'd have mentioned it in order to accentuate the WTF-ness of the WTF. You didn't mention it, it didn't happen.

    Sorry to disappoint you, jackass.

    1. It wasn't my job to tell the workers back there what to do. I was technician who took over from another technician. There was never any contact between me and whoever was at the fixing station. Until the day things got screwed up, I didn't even know about the fixing station - fixing was done after all the tests and alignment was finished. Boards left our section and went into storage. The fixing station pulled boards from storage as needed.
    2. Strictly speaking, it wasn't even my job to find out WTF had happened, but I went and found out anyway because someone else's screwup had made it look like I hadn't done my job.
    3. The fixing had been carried out for months by other workers, and none of them had ever gotten the briliant idea of straightening the coils out, so I figure the guy in charge of that section usually had things under control.
  • RichP (cs) in reply to mortfurd
    mortfurd:
    PoPSiCLe:
    I call fake. Even incompetent Eastern European factory workers need to have basic understanding of the components they work with (or, at least I assume).

    And a FET and a Zener diode are technical terms which should be understandable regardless of language. So, what I'm ending up with here is either: useless translators (with no electrical engineering knowledge), or overzealous translators translating everything, even techincal terms which should be defined on some sort of diagram, somewhere. Didn't these guys get a scheme of what they were building?

    CAPTCHA: transverbero - yeah, pretty much

    You assume wrong. (snip)

    I can relate to mortfurd. I once worked in a similar facility (in the USA, although some of us were of Eastern European ancestry if that counts). We once had a non-technical person come up with an interesting workaround to running out of a bin of parts. The board in question had both diodes and transistors in TO-220 packages. When the assembler ran out of diodes, they got the bright idea to clip off the "extra" leg from the transistors and plop those in the places for the diodes. Ingenious, but not exactly to specification.

  • Spezialpfusch (too lazy to log in) (unregistered)

    But the story shows a major reason why it is safer to avoid acrynoms, especially when speaking to translators. With the unabbreviated "Feldeffekttransistor", we wouldn't have today's WTF.

  • OMGWTFBBQ (unregistered) in reply to Spezialpfusch (too lazy to log in)

    Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!

  • mortfurd (unregistered) in reply to OMGWTFBBQ
    OMGWTFBBQ:
    Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!
    Entschuldigung? WTF? Is that supposed to be in German or did Google Translate puk?
  • anonymous (unregistered) in reply to Paul M
    Paul M:
    So what you need is to underline technical terms, and direct the translators to not attempt to translate underlined terms.
    The way I understood it, the translator didn't translate "FET", but when the German workers were verbally told about the "FET" they thought they were being told "fett". So it was a miscommunication, not really a mistranslation.
  • Hannes (unregistered) in reply to mortfurd
    Comment held for moderation.
  • anonymous (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • mortfurd (unregistered) in reply to Hannes
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Sir Galahad the pure (unregistered) in reply to Hannes
    Comment held for moderation.
  • faoileag (unregistered) in reply to Sir Galahad the pure
    Comment held for moderation.
  • DCRoss (cs) in reply to faoileag
    faoileag:
    Sir Galahad the pure:
    Obviously. If he had heard it, he would be dead by now.
    Actually it seems to have lost its potency over the years - otherwise all german language speakers currently reading the forum would die a horrible death. AAAAaaaaaargh...

    No, "Aaargh." At the back of the throat.

  • QJo (unregistered) in reply to Mike
    Mike:
    mortfurd:
    I figure the multinational company that built that radio had some rule in place that required all products to have hand books in several languages - and that no one thought to make an exception for this one product.

    Almost certainly a legal requirement

    The good news here is that managing efficient and accurate translation between English, French and German is (practically) a somewhat easier proposition than translating between German and e.g. Czech, Romanian or Polish.

  • Herr Schmuckliser (unregistered)

    Outsourcing is ALWAYS cheaper and ALWAYS more efficient then having the product produced in a normal first world country. Never mind the weeks spent in lost translations, the delays because of 12 hour timezone shifts, the lack of caring in producing the product by the outsourced monkeys, the months of wasted effort fixing the shitty fucking products produced by these monkeys back at the head office in a FIRST WORLD country. Yes it's the better option - stated by a number of CIOs I've worked for who funny enough have all been fired after laying off all their competent employees.

  • CigarDoug (unregistered) in reply to mortfurd
    mortfurd:
    I figure the multinational company that built that radio had some rule in place that required all products to have hand books in several languages - and that no one thought to make an exception for this one product.
    I would guess it was a government regulation, not a company policy, that drove this. The kind of people who invent regulations requiring instructions to be written in extra languages are the kind of people who lack the intellectual capacity to realize that there might be valid exceptions. They think the government is right, all the time, and that the government knows far more about how to run a business than the people who actually run them.
  • Steve The Cynic (cs) in reply to mortfurd
    mortfurd:
    Steve The Cynic:
    mortfurd:
    With all due respect(*), the WTF is strong in *you* here. Nobody, not even you, thought to tell the epoxy-adders that the untidy appearance of the parts was correct(**), and so they can reasonably be excused for showing what looks like a certain level of pride in the appearance of their work.

    (*) That is, not very much, sorry. (**) If someone had told them about it, you'd have mentioned it in order to accentuate the WTF-ness of the WTF. You didn't mention it, it didn't happen.

    Sorry to disappoint you, jackass.

    1. It wasn't my job to tell the workers back there what to do. I was technician who took over from another technician. There was never any contact between me and whoever was at the fixing station. Until the day things got screwed up, I didn't even know about the fixing station - fixing was done after all the tests and alignment was finished. Boards left our section and went into storage. The fixing station pulled boards from storage as needed.
    2. Strictly speaking, it wasn't even my job to find out WTF had happened, but I went and found out anyway because someone else's screwup had made it look like I hadn't done my job.
    3. The fixing had been carried out for months by other workers, and none of them had ever gotten the briliant idea of straightening the coils out, so I figure the guy in charge of that section usually had things under control.
    Hmm. Apologies where due, but none of that was clear from your original statement. And regardless of whether or not it was your job to make sure they knew, *somebody* clearly should have done it, and (cue (possibly unfairly) the next part of the clichéd tale of Somebody, Anybody, Nobody, and Everybody)...

    (re: 3) In one sense, that could be interpreted as a bad sign, and if you don't interpret it that way, it's a bad sign in either of a couple of other different ways...

    1. It might mean that nobody before this cared enough about what their work looked like to bother tidying the coils.
    2. It might mean that there was a training failure in the case of the new worker(s).
    3. It might mean that, as you say, the guy in charge normally had these workers in hand enough to prevent this, and slipped up in this case. (This is not the same as there being a training failure, but bears a strong resemblance.)
  • Paul Neumann (unregistered)
    TFA:
    She had a point, but Val still had a defective test batch on his hands and no acknowledgement of fault.
    Perhaps Val should have been looking inwardly for a fault manifestation.
  • Hannes (unregistered) in reply to DCRoss
    DCRoss:
    faoileag:
    Sir Galahad the pure:
    Obviously. If he had heard it, he would be dead by now.
    Actually it seems to have lost its potency over the years - otherwise all german language speakers currently reading the forum would die a horrible death. AAAAaaaaaargh...

    No, "Aaargh." At the back of the throat.

    No, 'Ooh' in surprise and alarm!

  • Hannes (unregistered) in reply to mortfurd
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Paul Neumann (unregistered) in reply to mortfurd
    mortfurd:
    2. I was adjusting the filters on the output side of the trasmitters one day. On the radios at that time, that meant stretching and twisting the coils in the filter. Radios started failing tests on the transmitter - too much power output outside that proper band, or too much wasted power to generate the required output. Both are signs of improperly adjusted filters. Since I was doing the filters, I knew damned good and well that they were done right when they left my bench. I went over to testing and picked up some of the failed units. All of my carefully stretched and twisted coils had been twisted and unstretched back into the original (useless) shape. You could see where the varnish was wrinkled from where I had adjusted things, but the otherwise the parts looked like they'd never been adjusted. What had happened was this: The coils have to be "fixed" with epoxy to hold their adjusted position. One of the women who was supposed fix the coils was straightening them and then fixing them. She thought the adjusted coils looked horribly untidy, and straightened them out. I got to redo a day's production because of that. You couldn't just readjust the coils, either. These were the longer ones that were filled with epoxy. Some of the smaller coils you just crack the epoxy off the outside and go on, but not these. You had to replace the bastards (all three on each board) and then adjust them.
    I once held a job doing something similar, however we called it "potting" rather than fixing. The entire assembly was encased in an epoxy mold after adjustments were completed. One week our potter, Manfred, wanted to take a long weekend, but we were behind in our adjustments queue. He went ahead and potted the entire batch ahead of the adjustments causing a long weekend for one to turn into a long week for everyone.
  • gnasher729 (unregistered) in reply to CigarDoug
    CigarDoug:
    mortfurd:
    I figure the multinational company that built that radio had some rule in place that required all products to have hand books in several languages - and that no one thought to make an exception for this one product.
    I would guess it was a government regulation, not a company policy, that drove this. The kind of people who invent regulations requiring instructions to be written in extra languages are the kind of people who lack the intellectual capacity to realize that there might be valid exceptions. They think the government is right, all the time, and that the government knows far more about how to run a business than the people who actually run them.

    Making two translations, telling the translators that absolutely nobody cares about the quality, might be cheaper, quicker and less painful than arguing for an exception with the authorities.

  • sigh... (unregistered) in reply to PoPSiCLe
    PoPSiCLe:
    I call fake. Even incompetent Eastern European factory workers need to have basic understanding of the components they work with (or, at least I assume).

    The beginning of all WTFs.

Leave a comment on “Translation Server Error”

Log In or post as a guest

Replying to comment #:

« Return to Article