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Translation, Please? Pretty Please??

Like it or not, we live in a global economy, and with very few exceptions, the power tools you and I use every day are made in some country where they speak a language other than English. For example, engineers in a machinery plant in China may first write the owner’s manual for a tablesaw in Chinese, then someone has to translate it into English before it gets shipped over here. The translation doesn’t always go smoothly—it’s like those people have a different word for EVERYTHING! (I’ve heard a couple of manufacturers refer to the broken English as “Chinglish.”)

Most of the better tool manufacturers go through and rewrite the manuals to make sure they make sense to us Westerners, so you’d never know it, but I’ve run across some pretty poor translations in the manuals of dirt-cheap tools.

So the other day, I’m doing some research on oscillating spindle sanders and I run into a tool Web site where the seller obviously has no grasp of the English language. They’ve simply taken the marketing text from the tool company and run it through one of the online translators (such as Babel Fish) and posted whatever the computer spit out.

It’s kind of a fun exercise to translate a simple phrase from English to any other language (or more than one) and back to English using one of these translators. For example, let’s start with “My name is Dave and I like tools.” Translated to German and back, it becomes “My name is Dave and I likes tools.” Now going from English to German to French and back to English, it translates as: “My name is Dave and myself wants tools.”

Back to tools. Here’s what this poorly translated site had to say about Shop Fox’s W1686 oscillating spindle sander:

“No write off has been spared to convey you this feature film packed spindle sanding ogre! With a whopping 27-1/2″ x 27-1/2″ precision-ground iron tabularize, no other political machine comes tight to Shop Fox in sizing and content. Built towards everyone from the demanding shop brag to the recreational who has it wholly, the Shop Fox W1686 testament in the absence of a dubiety receive the highest of expectations!”

Wow, I’m not sure if I qualify as a “demanding shop brag” or a “recreational.” And, although I found the recent political ads abrasive, I didn’t know that I was shopping for a “political machine…”

If you keep an open mind, you can at least follow the translation a little bit. The description of Grizzly’s G1071 gets a little murkier…

“This sander’s heavy 25″ x 25″ tabularise makes storage locker doors and other big projects a zephyr to inch baroness dudevant – and the broad change of that may be interchanged spindles turn over tradition act into “child’s” recreate. Our spindle sander testament fulfil the indispensably of the two the pro and demure hobbyist. We hind this up through our guaranty, talents and serve.”

Ah, “demure hobbyist.” That sounds more like me. Next time we test spindle sanders, I’m sure there will be a chart column for “zephyr projection.”

One more, this one of Porter Cable’s handheld oscillating spindle sander, model 121. An excerpt:

“Porter-Cable, the pilot discoverer of the new delineate sharpener, has been structure smarting tools because 1906. The company’s to the highest degree late breakthrough is a manageable vibration spindle sander, a instrument dissimilar anything other on the securities industry. Traditionally, of trend, spindle red sandal-wood feature been tribunal tools. Now, in company with Porter Cable’s manageable pose, in lieu of carrying the workpiece to the instrument, you use up the instrument to the act. It’s hone while laboring on big projects, of the like kind as piece of paper stuff, storage locker pieces, countertops, and step treads–situations to which place ), in the retiring, a woodsman power feature tried to acquire by accompanying one risky belted ammunition sander thaumaturgy only if to terminate up ruining a patch and loss clip. It’s a outstanding instrument, in special, in favor of cleanup up subsequent gigue adage cuts.”

(Huh?!? It goes on…)

“Because the spindle is perpendicular style to the immoral, you acquire a 90-degree destination no thing the kind of difference of direction your gigue axiom fleck power feature strayed. Porter-Cable’s sander is smooth out and restrained, over, and it’s leisurely to run: absolutely steer the sander on an inch often the right smart you would habituate a router. As accompanying the whole of oscillating spindle red sandal-wood, the compounding of rotating and spindle0 sue delivers a smooth out, burn-free rise up. This is a sizable utensil, end the smooth out litigate and the molded personify do it well-fixed to contain and leisurely to manoeuvre. You put up set the velocity of the orbits and the value of vibration, letting the sanding litigate easy accommodate to a change of applications. There’s in addition an adjustable inch steer accompanying ii fences that act same infeed and outfeed tables on a long plane, so you tin check exactly by what means a great deal stuff you need remote. This spindle1 too mounts to Porter-Cable’s router tabularize, gift you the choice of inverting it and using it as a benchtop spindle2 There’s in addition an structured dust larboard as antidote to dust accumulation. The cat’s-paw comes in contrast with a received 2-inch beat, on the other hand put up occupy 1/2-, 3/4-, 1-, and 1-1/2-inch drums as intimately. Will this spindle3 spindle4 exchange the domain? Well, as luck may have it non, but-end it testament do your life-time a allot easier if you’re a kitchen fabricator, remodeler, carpenter, or sedate internal browse hobbyist. –Jon Groebner Features: High-speed rotating & spindle5 actions bring home the bacon strong-growing, burn-free sanding…”

Forget what I said (clearly) before. As a woodworker, I’m more of a “sedate internal browse hobbyist.” And why does Jon Groebner get his own features?

Tune in again next time for more fun and interesting translations. Or, as Babel Fish would say, “Time in other time next time for more maintenance and interesting translations.”


2 Responses to “Translation, Please? Pretty Please??”

  1. Hilarious… I love it!!

  2. I’ve offered those companies my proofreading expertise and translation into “Real English” on many occasions, but apparently none of them consider that help to be of any “value add” to them. Sad.

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