Comments: 11
Hmmm. Translated by an English native speaker, though -- who really should have been able to give the text an Anglophone cadence (wouldn't that have been a big part of his job, even)?
Murder by Death 1 month ago
I don't know - I"m shady on what a translator's entire job is supposed to be. And I really don't mind this cadence (for lack of a better term), but I do wonder if others might find it condescending, like "let's use BIG science to talk to LITTLE kids" kind of thing. Because the science isn't fluffy, witty science. It's Mr. X studied the parameters of the waggle and the proximity to the bait stations and compared the results to the 10 bees with scent glands laying trails vs, the 10 bees whose sent glads were GLUED SHUT! O_o blah, blah, blah. (Emphasis mine)

So it's pretty full on science. Just with a weird narrative cadence that conveys bright enthusiasm.
I'm tempted to look at this in the German original now to see whether IMHO it's down to the translator or the author. I wouldn't entirely rule out the author (German scientists can be pretty bad about talking down to a general audience if / when addressing same), but the fact that you keep calling it cadence makes me think it's the translator sticking too closely to the original text.

(For point of reference: I do have a translator's degree myself, though I haven't used it in years -- but I do remember this was the hardest thing we had to learn: how to remain faithful to the original text while not sticking to it to the point of making the reading / listening experience come across as awkward. And mind you, this was business language, not fiction or science ... you'd think that would be much more straightforward, and it probably still is, but even there the possibilities in any given situation are still surprisingly diverse.)
Murder by Death 1 month ago
I'd be interested on your take of it. The content is great - I'm loving the information and the scientific level of it. And I don't mind the voice, but I think it might be grating or condescending to others. Though it would be a shame if it were.

The one thing I do find condescending though, and perhaps it's a sign I'm being too accomodating and the text really does talk down to the reader, is the authors' insistence on referring to the hive as The Honey Factory. Yes, it's the title, but can we just call it a hive, not a honey factory every time?
Can you give me an example -- a specific passage (can be more than a paragraph) where I could directly compare the German and English versions?
Murder by Death 1 month ago
Yes, although it will have to be tonight, when I get home from work. :)
No problem -- it's not like I'm going to look this up in the middle of the night here ... :D
Mike Finn 1 month ago
Perhaps the rhythm expresses a mode of thought? After many years working with people fluent in English as a second language, the cadence of my speech began to change. I found that people used to dealing with German grammar had the patience and concentration to follow arguements expressed in Longer, more complex sentences. They also assembled their arguments differently, running with a sequence of logic seeded with factual examples. By comparison, most of my North American colleagues relied heavily on anecdote while the senior English ones simply stated their preferred answer and waited to see if anyone had the temerity to challenge them.
Murder by Death 1 month ago
I think there's some of that, along with an unconscious transition of a native language's rhythm to the English. My mom used to do this (sometimes still does, even after all these years), and my grandmother did it so much that I even slip into it once in awhile: that sing-song rhythm of speaking Italian that is inherent for those whom it's their native tongue.

I had other Danish colleagues to spoke similarly, though not as strongly: starting sentences on a higher note, swing downwards a bit and ending back up - but not so 'up' that it sounds like a question, more just friendly. If that makes sense?
I get the "transition of cadence" from one's primary language to a secondary one -- in fact, that's precisely why I checked whether the translator was German (or somebody whose primary language is German, in any event). I've been known to do the same, too, though when speaking more than in writing (I think). BUT the reason why a mother tongue translator is chosen is, in large part, to do away with precisely this issue: to make reading a "comfortable", "natural" thing, where the flow of the language just feels like it "ought to" -- in other words, to make flow a non-issue; to make it completely disappear behind the contents, instead of running even the slighest risk of distracting from the contents, as is clearly the case here.

@Mike: That's an interesting observation on communication, though. I wouldn't put it in quite the same terms -- but then, my field of reference isn't quite the same, either; though some would say it's related to yours -- but yes, this is the sort of conversation I used to have with an American colleague who is fully fluent in German and has practice experience here, too. German lawyers are trained to present their arguments radically different from Common Law (both American and British) lawyers, and it shows both in briefs and in oral arguement. And this is not merely a matter of presentation, either; it's actually the underlying school of thought, and the way of thinking / analyzing taught in university that is different -- above and beyond the substantive / procedural differences between the two systems, that is.
Murder by Death 1 month ago
Keep in mind, I might be more sensitive to it because it so closely resembles the way my colleague Peter spoke. It might not be as noticeable to others. Or who knows? maybe it would seem more offensive.