Wednesday, May 6, 2009

WWW - Babble

"Mais ce n'est pas encore assez que le langage ait clarté et contenu, comme si je dis « ce jour-là, il pleuvait» ou « trois et deux font cinq»; il faut encore qu'il ait un but et une nécessité. Autrement, de langage on tombe en parlage, de parlage en bavardage, de bavardage en confusion."

And the commonly accepted English translation:

"It is still not enough for language to have clarity and content[…] it must also have a goal and an imperative. Otherwise from language we descend to chatter, from chatter to babble and from babble to confusion."

-Rene Daumal – La Grande beuverie

M. Daumal makes an excellent point, one which we as writers and as speakers - as users of language - would do well to remember; communication has a purpose. If it does not, it is not communication, but merely:

"A meaningless confusion of words or sounds,"
"Idle or foolish talk; chatter."
-The American Heritage Dictionary

Babble – when it is not the soothing babble of the brook – is to be avoided at all costs. This is a lesson which the translator must always bear in mind; if we translate a text without regard to its goal and imperative, then the translated text begins the descent into confusion.

All this is a rather philosophical explanation of the importance of localization. The goal of a marketing text is to sell a product, to promote a company, to achieve a positive result among a group of people. The content of a marketing text that succeeds in one culture will not necessarily succeed in another. A localized text is one that is not simply translated, but is modified to appeal to a new culture. In marketing, all good translations are localizations.

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