Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mashed or solid food?

Well I'm at Alotau now, helping a language group at a translation workshop and over the past couple of days we have been working on translating an information booklet about HIV/AIDS. My group came across something that could possibly be misunderstood if translated poorly. It was talking about taking babies off breast milk and starting them on solid food. 'Solid' was the word in question. One of the translators pointed out that we should really say 'mashed' food because people would think it meant that they should give babies something truly solid, like peanuts! Imagine the trouble we would be in if a translation that we endorsed resulted in a baby choking because they had been fed solid food and not mashed food. So you can see that it's really important to translate well and literal word for word replacements don't usually work well.

And here are some photos that are completely unrelated to this blog post, except that they were taken in Alotau:

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