Sunday, February 04, 2018

In Praise of Ajit Pai... And What's Lost In Translation

My Xfinity internet bills went down last month. Of course, I had to request the change. Thanks, I suppose, to Ajit Pai, I was able to tell Comcast that I did not need the sort of blazing fast speed that would fry my existing modem and router if I did not replace them, and that I would rather have the slower, lower priced service. As a bonus, I get fewer (way fewer) annoying pop-ups, too.

Apparently, most people believe that the Burger King spoof proves that net-neutrality is good. I'd rather be able to choose a $5 burger instead of a $26 burger, if a slow-burger is all I require.  I'd rather not be forced to buy a $15 averaged price fast-burger, if everyone pays the same one price and receives the same one blazing fast product.

Whatever happened to "you gets what you pays for" as received wisdom?
Or, "you pays your money and you takes your choice" (a quote from Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World")

When one quotes those lines, one is quoting from literature, therefore the non-standard usage is correct.

Douglas Hofstadter has an absolutely marvelous article in The Atlantic about the inadequacies of Artificial Intelligence when it comes to translating prose.

His experiments are fascinating.

So... the "you pays your money and you takes your choice" becomes "Sie zahlen Ihr Geld und Sie treffen Ihre Wahl," which translates back to "you pay your money and you make your choice."  Humorless, not literary, and Americanized.

The British, or at least the British of a certain generation, "take decisions" and "take choices". Americans "make decisions" and "make choices", and "make their case" even when half the audience is unmoved.

Try "he made his case" (for instance, at The State Of The Union address). Google translates this into French as "Il a fait son affaire", and then translates it back as "He did his business. Which is what we say of a dog who marks his territory.... and if you keep translating, you get to "(he) did his job."

For some, one can "argue" or "present" a case, but one only "makes" the case if the audience is convinced of the rightness of what the speaker said.

At last, perhaps, older musicians are indeed making their case about the unfairness of a quirk in copyright legislation, that has been a boon to Sirius radio and to other music services that have been using oldies without paying anyone.

Music Bus:

Of the three Acts in the Bus (omnibus?), the one that strikes me as long overdue is The Classics Act, which would mean that older musicians would receive royalties for their pre-1972-recorded works. If only the royalties could be retroactive!

All the best,

Rowena Cherry

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