Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It is about time for one of my 'interum reports'. Molly is very pleased that her readership has increased by about 50% in the last few months, for no reason that I can particularly identify. It says to me that my efforts are at least a little bit worthwhile, even if I know that about 160 people a day dropping by to read these examples of great literature is not exactly a "great public influence". All that being said here are a few comments and announcements.

First of all I'd like the readers to be aware of 'Molly's Suggestions Box' (see our link on the main page). This is your forum to comment on Molly's Blog ie what we should cover, what we are missing and what you would like to see in the future. Please feel free to put your general comments there. I am also trying to revive 'Molly's Polls', though I am often at a loss as to what questions to ask. Once more feel free to give your suggestions in Molly's Suggestion Box.

Molly's Blog has always tried to have a "balance" of items, both in terms of geography (local-Winnipeg/Manitoba, Canadian, American and generally international) and in terms of subject matter (labour, community, specifically anarchist, scientific, personal freedom, humour, etc). There have undoubtedly been times when I have "strayed" into concentration on one or the other of these areas. I don't think there is any general solution to this problem, though I feel that the lack of recent scientific posts is a problem. To a large degree I give priority to those who communicate directly with me by email, and I also give priority to solidarity appeals. Within these priorities there is far more that I miss than I can cover. This is no reflection on the importance of a given item; it is merely the way that certain things "come up" on a given day.

This "priority" extends to the occasional items that I translate from (usually) French or (occasionally) Spanish. I receive items from the French CNT-F regularily and the Spanish CGT sporadically. Translations take me a hell of a lot of time as I am usually consulting both online translation services and my own Larousses. This means that I end up doing far less than I would like to or that the subjects deserves. This is especially important here in Canada where my translations of matters from Québec have been far less than I would like. Unfortunately nobody else is stepping up to the plate, aside from the unfortunately limited situation where francophones translate their matters into English. That's life in Canada I guess.
Perhaps the subject matter of this blog is often a bit too varied. I am not, however, likely to narrow it in the near future. This blog is not only a method political argument. It is also meant to be fun, at least for me, and I'll be damned if I'm going to sacrifice that. Here's hoping for a good fourth year of Molly's Blog.


opit said...

I think it's time you checked out Google. I understand hardly Word One of Spanish : yet when Ralfast cited a blog from a Spanish blogring as covering the governor's cut of government services in Puerto Rico in response to fiscal crisis when I was quipping at Ten Percent, I was able to use Google Translate - installed as a button in Firefox - to work up an understandable translation of what was going on.
( I just recommended it to a young Pakistani who was flirting online with a Polish girl : what a world! )

Larry Gambone said...

I like your blog just as it is. It is also important as you are the only Canuck A blog covering things on a regular basis, since Eugene is no longer blogging. Three Cheers for Molly!

mollymew said...

Thanks Larry. Eugene actually came back on line a few days ago with several posts, but he apparently stopped again. Don't know why.
I actually do use Google translate as the "first draft" of longer translatations. Shorter ones I do off my Larousses and the top of my inccreasingly bald head. Here's the problem, however. I ALWAYS have to print out a copy of the article in its original langauge because ALL machine translations hold oodles and oodles worth of errors. Some of them are merely clumsy renditions into English---though you should doubt a program that spits out nonsensical, ungrammatical sentences or fragments thereof in your native language. Even if the general sense of the sentence is present (which it often isn't) the average Google Translate English sentence looks like exactly what it is...a string of phrases strung together with no consideration for English grammar. How many mistakes is it making in another language?
The first draft using Google translate speeds things up, though in all!!! cases I have to go back to the original to make many!!!! corrections, and I also have to tidy up the English text as Google Translate doesn't speak good English.
When I get stuck on difficult terms I consult not just Google Translate but also BabbleFish, as well as some other online translation operations. I do, however, find that my Larousses are actually far better (by far) resources than the online sources.
There are some situations where I just can't make out what the original is saying (mostly around figures of speech and slang- which is, of course, regional).
I find that sources such as Google Translate are merely EXTREMELY limited aids to help speed up the process, and some of the errors they make are real howlers, assuming they make any sense at all.
My French is far better than my Spanish, but I can read both, even if I have difficulty in writing proper sentences in said languages. Considering some of the stuff I see on the internet I think I am doing well to have a firm grasp of my native language, let alone having a clumsy grasp of others. Insofar as I am capable of making such judgements I "think" that Spanish is a far more logical and attractive language than either English or French, if for no other reason than the fact that it is phonetic.
In any case I see no easy solution to my dilemma of the translations taking an inordinate amount of time.