Friday, May 23, 2008

Helsingin Sanomat English edition: is it going downhill?

I love the HS English webpages: reliably, five days a week they keep those in Finland who don't speak Finnish, or don't speak much Finnish, informed and up to date on what is happening around them. It is a vital service, given for free, that really helps you feel more at home.

But I'm sure the quality of the editing, or translation at least, is going down. You spot more and more errors which are probably simply typos that get missed. Yet take today's article on the vandalism against the City Bikes, what exactly does this mean?
The bike has first been ridden from Central Helsinki all the way out to the eastern suburb of Vuosaari, and then it has been hurled into the water to collect seaweed. Bloody hell, perfectly good bicycle! The water is cold and the wind is about to rip off even one's underwear, but soon there is one less derelict bike in the Baltic Sea. Stop the madness, people! Even a journalist is just a person, and he, too, gets wet pulling off stunts like this.
I think it means the journalist got wet going into the water to recover the bike, but I'm not really sure. Is the stunt throwing a bike into the sea? Recovering a bike from the sea? Or having your y-fronts removed by a freak gust? And I don't think even Word grammar check would let you get away with "Bloody hell, perfectly good bicycle!" as a sentence. It is even one article short of an angry statement of fact.

So is it just me or has anyone else noticed this?


Elaine said...

I've noticed some really odd phrasing and vocabulary usage as well as the occasional typo, too. Isn't William still doing the translation?

Anonymous said...

As a non-native English speaker I can only say that I got what he ment. What more shall I ask for? =)

Anonymous said...

MEANT, sorry

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

Elaine - I've noticed the same although it has always been appealingly quirky. They are very keen of the word "ponder" but use it in a way I wouldn't. To me ponder is an internal event, a mental act. You can't ponder to someone, i.e. "the prime minister pondered to the audience about Nato membership..."