March 19th, 2008

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фонарь, веревка, лестница

Hmm, hmm. So I read the interview with Anton Nosik yesterday after someone on my flist linked to it. This morning, I read a translation of the interview.

Um. They sound rather different to me. If I were to read just the English text, and if I weren't Russian, I would be as Shocked and Outraged as everybody else. The translator took it upon themselves to embellish the text.

This is what I read in the Russian version:
- So you're sure that the boycott won't happen?

- No, I won't say that. Because anyone can create a few hundred sockpuppet accounts in LJ, then update their journals with: "On 21st March, I will be silent in protest". After that you, the journalists, will have the ability to list several hundred usernames who were silent that day. And then write, "And this is just the tip of the iceberg!"
This is what the translation says:
- So you're sure there will be no boycott?

- No, I didn't say that. Because any person can create several hundred fake LJ accounts, comment in them that on the 21st of march I will be silent in protest. Then you journalists can quote those fake users and list the names of those that were silent that day. And add a cute catchprase like "that's just the top of the iceberg"
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. ;) So, uh, I have a problem with the translation. I don't have time to provide an alternative translation (ETA: OK, I cave, I cave. Below the cut is the article, translated as I am reading it. Lunch hours are for losers anyway.) and I don't have time or patience for the inevitable accusations of "YOU SUPPORT TEH EB1L OPPRESS0RZ!!11"

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Nosik is certainly being blasé, but contempt? KGB? Oppression? I don't know. It doesn't sound like that to me. Russians in general tend to be more direct in speech (and use stronger language) than English-speaking Westerners are used to. Translating a Russian interview into English directly will make pretty much any Russian sound like a complete dickwad, because cultural expectations are completely different. It just really frustrates me that people are not taking into account that we're dealing with a different culture here, not just a different company. Business and economics are built on pretty much the same principles the world over, but they are never divorced from culture.

At any rate, if my side is going to deliberately manipulate language in a translation to make the "other" side look even worse than they look already (and don't get me wrong; I'm not making excuses for SUP's idiotic business decisions), then I don't want to support my side. Aren't we "let my LJs go" people supposed to be the honest folks, here? ETA: The original translator in no way intended to be dishonest; I was wrong about that. I'm glad I was, and I have offered an apology.

I'm not going to participate in the boycott. Because interview or no interview, whether you believe the translated version or find someone unbiased to translate for you, LiveJournal will do as it likes, whether you're a paid user, a permanent account holder, or an early adopter. The message is pretty clear, guys: if you don't like it, leave. And I don't think that message is going to change no matter what we do.
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