Casualty of the HealthCare.gov Launch: the Spanish Language
Amidst the mind-bogglingly poorly executed launch of HealthCare.gov website in the United States a new monster has reared its head – bad Spanish translations. NBC News reports in this article that countless Spanish speakers trying to enroll in the program need human help to understand the instructions on the website, because the information is poorly written in Spanglish and full of errors. Judging from a few pages, like this one, I would say Spanglish is too generous of a description. Trying to understand this text is as easy as solving paradoxes in 5 dimensional spaces. Well, you get the point. Which brings me to the question: Should failed government initiatives be fixed with failed government initiatives? Consider this solution being deliberated by Korean lawmakers for the current conundrum of poorly translated Korean Government websites: create a government agency that “guarantees the quality” of all translations used on government websites. The “debate” as shown in this Korean video with subtitles seems lopsided to just one side of the argument. What do you think?
What Happened This Week: Translation News
(FOURTH WEEK OF DECEMBER 2013)
Which American dialect do you speak and where do you come from?
On December 21st the New York Times published a multiple-choice test that tells you where you’re from in the USA just by the way you speak English. Taking the test itself is interesting, but I’m not sure how accurate it is. After filling-in north of 20 questions, my results came in. According to the test, I’m from San Francisco. The problem is that it was my mother who was from San Francisco; I myself have never lived in California. Does this mean I speak my mother’s dialect? Would you like to take the test yourself? Follow this link to the NYT.
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