Tuesday, January 13, 2009

lost in translation

Last night, I decided to finally accept Facebook's invitation to help translate their site in Filipino (there's this pop-up message thing when you log on). I'm not really sure how it works -- from the looks of it, one just has to translate several sentences or phrases listed, and then the community reviews and chooses the best translation via popularity vote.

I don't consider myself a master of the native language (who is anyway, apart from linguists? Isn't this like a common irony among all those who take their first language for granted?), and I may look and sound like a hypocrite, given that this post is not written in Filipino, but I was really... erm... mildly surprised at how the translations are doing so far. The last formal Filipino writing class I may have had was about seven years ago during sophomore year in college, but I still know that the proper translation for classmate is kamag-aral (not kaklase... unless the rule has changed over the said seven years?).

The others look passable (e.g., grupo, i-edit), unless one has to be really anal about the formalities. I firmly believe, though, that gawain sounds better -- and more succinct -- than aktibidades when one translates the activities. (Then again, the said term is distinctly Filipino)

And take note, the above terms are already listed in the glossary, which meant that they already won the popular vote (so far), as are considered as standards one has to use in translating other entries. WTF? Lope K. Santos must be rolling in his grave. *shrugs* Gosh, now I'm sounding like my last Filipino professor.

Of course, one could point out that these rough translations are the most commonly used terms in normal, day-to-day conversations (should we call them slang? colloquialisms?). We do have a habit of speaking in Taglish/Enggalog (plus the adopted foreign words and phrases). And this is Facebook we're talking about -- not exactly the apt place to gripe about grammar and spelling. Buti nga walang text/SMS language na ginamit eh. You know, the kc's or the aq's or the cuz's. *shudder*

Still... *sighs* This reminds me of that Excel quiz that circulated before. Maybe it should be spammed again.

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