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Air France sentenced to translate all its manuals in..........French .

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Air France sentenced to translate all its manuals in..........French .

Old 13th Oct 2010, 15:43
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Christiaan ... you've got the picture! 100% with you!
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 15:52
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Translation is fraught with difficulty. I once contracted out some manuals to be translated from English into Spanish - for use in Argentina.

One of the words which needed translation was 'shell' in the sense of an empty mask to be filled in. It makes perfect sense in English and was literally translated as 'concha' which in Spanish means a shell as is 'she sells sea shells on the sea shore'. Whilst in Castillian Spanish this would have been a little odd and nonsensical, in much of Latin America 'concha' is the vulgar word for the female genitals, much the same as the 'c' word in English.

200 or so of these manuals had been printed, there was very little I could except use it to get a laugh!
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 16:01
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That one gave me a good laugh!

Another known example is that of the Mitsubishi Pajero which is sold in spanish speaking countries as "Montero" as the original term is slang for "masturbator"



Back on topic, I hope Air France wins an appeal on that ...
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 16:03
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Can the French get even more ridiculous?
After accidents from lack of understanding, dual language spoken on French ATC, where the non-french have not got a clue of what is going on, it seems AF is not getting the "international" picture...

Maybe the same union(s) will also demand that weather forecasts, sigmets, be translated for them EVERYWHERE they land...imagine landing in JFK!

How about the placards and labels in the cockpit? "Flaps", "Landing gear", "Thrust" are TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE! They must be called and labelled as "Volets, Train d'atterrissage, Manettes de poussee"...

I think the best solution is for the rest of the world to adapt to the french and learn french language..

I will not make myself popular, but whoever is behind these pushy demands have no place in aviation and live outside reality. It looks to me as just an exercise to demonstrate how much power a union has, and protect a few incompetent who can't make the effort of learning the basics of aviation english.
Once again, the french system (generally speaking) put the bar high in studies and diplomas, and then makes sure that nobody will ever be challenged by actually using what they have learned...

That reminds me of a conversation with a French DGCA official, asking if we could perform simulator checkrides in english, now that everyone in Europe has the ICAO Level 4 or above. His answer was "certainly not, the pilots have their Level 4 or 5, and there is no reason the challenge it and make their sim session harder than what it already is by speaking in a non-native language.."

So it seems this will go on, and the french attitude is yet again not ready to change one bit.

By the way, I am french....but I dont say it too loud...

Enough said.

Flex
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 16:10
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There is precedent; Korean translated all the technical documents on their airplanes into Korean for their pilots. Then they needed the same documents for the foreign pilots on staff, so did they use the original documents? No, they translated the Korean versions back into English! You can imagine the result...
It looks as if this will be a similar case.
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 16:12
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MurphyWasRight,

Many thanks for your tale... brings back many memories.... !

.. she was totally non technical and had discovered that most of the technical terms did not appear in any dictionary she had access to.
Totally classic... !
And even if the word is there, the meaning provided is irrelevant for the technical jargon which happens to have adopted that particular word for something completely different.

The manuals were full of the typical barerly readable prose produced by engineers forced to write something.
And there you've hit another classic problem!
Documentation is either written by tech writers - who have only a very limited knowledge of what they're writing about - or by engineers who may know very well what they're writing about, but don't know how to write understandably.

In that respect, French has one more lovely problem... (this is mostly in French > English translation).
French secondary schools teach you to write "literary" French, not "practical" (or, if you like "technical") French.
One of the rules you get hammered into you is not to repeat yourself in the same sentence or even paragraph, so you desperately insert synonyms and convoluted phrasings....

So when referring to the same "thing" in the same paragraph, two or three different words are used, which on closer examination all mean exactly the same thing.
What's the difference between "tangage" et "profondeur", in an aircraft context? None.... both translate to "pitch".... but woe betide you if you had used the same word twice in a paragraph

CJ
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 16:17
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We paid a lot of money for a translation into French of a complete preliminary design report for a new airport in Tunisia (early 1980's...)

I'm an ex-interpreter in French, and read through the entire document failing to notice that throughout the word "apron" had been translated into "tablier".

I never really lived it down.
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 16:41
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Someone asked earlier what they do in Belgium. I can tell you. All manuals etc were in English. Certainly, all of our pilots be they Flemish, French or German speaking had to be competent in English. Everyone else in the company had to have a working knowledge of English.

Some of my friends told me that all pilots in the Belgian Air Force had to be tri-lingual. All flying matters were conducted in English. That stopped the French speakers complaining that the Dutch speakers had an advantage and vice versa!

Incidentally, I remember being told by an Indian captain that communication on the Sub Continent would be pretty difficult without English. He reckoned that there were 94 languages in the old India but all of them had English speakers.
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 16:47
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Originally Posted by Capot
....failing to notice that throughout the word "apron" had been translated into "tablier".
You're excused..... it's not entirely wrong.

From Wikipedia:
"Le tablier est la partie qui supporte les voies de circulation sur un pont . C'est la partie en caillebotis d'un passage surélevé."

It's also used more generally to designate a road-bed, and so would be valid for the 'bed' put in place before putting down the asphalt or concrete for the top coat of the apron itself.

It occasionally amazes me how "poor" languages are really in terms of words...
So many words are "re-used" for different concepts, sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively, and even more often in specialist jargon.

In our own language, we usually sort them out from context... but the moment you try to translate, you're in trouble....
A "chémin de fer" is not an "iron path", it's not even a "rail track", it's a "railway". (OK, overly simplified example, but you'll find the same everywhere.)

Amazingly, the Google translation program is slowly but steadily getting more and more of it right.

CJ
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 16:55
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After accidents from lack of understanding, dual language spoken on French ATC, where the non-french have not got a clue of what is going on, it seems AF is not getting the "international" picture...
Well, I quite often hear Italian spoken on Italian ATC, Spanish in Spain, Greek in Greece, American in USA , and so on. (Do not like it)

That said, I also find that translating the manuals is a waste of time and money.
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 17:00
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Originally Posted by FLEXPWR
How about the placards and labels in the cockpit? "Flaps", "Landing gear", "Thrust" are TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE! They must be called and labelled as "Volets, Train d'atterrissage, Manettes de poussee"...
Not sure about the cockpit (I'll check), but on Concorde all the stencils on the outside panels, doors, etc. were in both English and French (I'll try to find some photos).
Made sense, because most of the ground personnel would not have had any English at that time...
Not sure if it's still the same on the current Air France fleet, though....

CJ
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 17:10
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Originally Posted by flydive1
Well, I quite often hear Italian spoken on Italian ATC, Spanish in Spain, Greek in Greece, American in USA , and so on. (Do not like it)
I totally agree.....
"American in USA" ... (not to mention "English, or what passes for it in the UK").

One problem is that "native speakers" think they're automatically speaking intelligeable English....

As to using the local languages on small secondary airports, or little GA 'airfields', yes, I can't really have an issue with that.

But using it in the busy TMA of an international airport, to me, is criminal.

CJ
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 17:31
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3Point; If you have ever seen ICAO docs you will find the note about French being also official ICAO language. Ever wondered why haze is abbreviated BR (like brume in French) or why you have to call Mayday or PAN (like m´aidé = help me or panne = kaput in French).
The many students having taken their Airbus courses in Toulouse can surely testify that a solid knowledge of French would have averted some confusing moments with their local instructors speaking a charming Peter Sellers English.
In China the expats have a set of OMs in English translated from Chinese, but the Chinese version is still the legally valid one. The bail out is that the original (English) FCOMs that came with the aircraft are still on board, so one captain can read the legal stuff and the other the tech stuff .
Have done PCs with AF pilots; only French spoken and they still did a fine job out of it. Now, how can that be? In LH they revert to German when the sh## hits the fan. Is that unnatural? And in SK, with a mix of three languages in the cockpit, they use "SASperanto" on a daily basis.
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 17:39
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machine for the interpreting

MurphyWasRight
"The machine for the interpreting of long ribbons of paper featuring small holes" (aka paper tape reader)


ChristiaanJ
Amazingly, the Google translation program is slowly but steadily getting more and more of it right.
I understand that it works rather differently from previous machine translation efforts. It seems they have a database of documents that have been conventionally translated and they just do dumb (in the sense that they do no linguistic analysis) matching against the big pile of documents.

Voila!
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 17:50
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Boofhead notes:
No, they translated the Korean versions back into English! You can imagine the result...
I once used a German IC (Integrated Circuit, have to be carefull with the acronyms as well) that was second sourced by a Korean company.

The English data sheet from the Korean company was almost but not quite understandable if you were already very familiar with the part.

By comparing data sheets I divined the following likely history:

Original data sheet - German, written by tech writer not familiar with the part.

English data sheet from German company. Readable if you waited for the verbs at the end.

Korean data sheet - Likely translated from the English version due to common quirks in tables. (but I dont read Korean so not sure.)

English data sheet from Korean company : Translated quite literally from the Korean by a person for whom English was a (distant) second language.

It would actually be interesting to compare Google versions of this, I suspect Google would easily win if given the original German.
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 17:57
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I am not surprised that the Loi Toubon is being applied to ops manuals. But I am surprised that it has taken 16 years for someone to notice that it applies to AF.

I was working in France, at a research institute in computer science, when the law was passed. Believe me, everyone I knew thought it was *obviously* stupid. There are thousands of international scientific conferences taking place in France each year (for good reason; France is a great scientific nation) and according to the Loi Toubon all of the proceedings of each one shall appear in French. Considering that practically all the papers were submitted in English (since Latin has gone out of fashion in recent years), including those from the most prominent French researchers, the question arose as to who was going to translate them and how they were to be paid.

Everyone thought about it for two seconds, laughed, and quickly forgot the issue. As one must do with an obviously impractical decret. But a quasi-state airline can apparently be bullied, even though it's 16 years after the fact.

PBL
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 18:04
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“"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”

vive la différence!
would think this is a rather poetic outcome.

“It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere.” Voltaire

At least it is a pleasant language, and will make for interesting, if not useful, reading. Doubt Jeppesen/EAG-Navtech etc are going to be happy providing charts to them given the liability.
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 18:22
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So what's next? Ryanair manuals in Gaelic? Maybe BA should have their's in Welsh. There must be a case for Iberia to supply manuals in Catalan, and don't even contemplate how many manuals a Belgian airline would need
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 18:26
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There must be a case for Iberia to supply manuals in Catalan..... and Gallego, Euskera, Asturiano, Valenciano, Mallorquin ...
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 19:47
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Yes, english is one of the main languages in aviation... which allows a lot of not-so-good individuals from Australia, Canada, US, UK, to start a pilot career with a definite advantage, thus concealing much of their other weaknesses with their "command of english".
And some of those nations (Ireland, Australia, NZ) enjoy being called "great aviation nations" (because they do supply a big percentage of the pilot workforces of many companies in the world ) ... when they don"t build any aircraft, choppers, fighters, rockets or satellites.
And in the opposite France, Italy, Russia, Israel, even Romania or Switzerland, build a lot of aerospace hardware, feature many Technical Universities and Research Establishments, but their pilots have to work a little bit harder by learning another language (and for some countries, like Belgium, Switzerland, South Africa that will make a total of three)
Now would you consider all those pure-english-speaking pilots, from the previously mentioned countries, having to perform their duties in another language (german, or italian) should it be required by law ? they usually elude the question by saying that its not the situation, and therefore is not to be considered.
We all know that the answer is a big NO, simply because they COULD NOT.
Should it be required by an hypothetical change of the international situation, then maybe a different and more educated branch of their population would have to come forward to fill the cockpits.
And thanks again for ChristiaanJ, for saying that french isn't a technical language... probably the most stupid assertion of all those pages. He will be forgotten anyway - being obviously deprieved of any academic background, I can understand he missed a lot of it, and has no idea of what has been written or achieved in so many fields.
He also displayed in his post the now usual trick, when missing in technical knowledge, to call "possible legal reasons" for help...
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