Sophia's Peace Work

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"There are small local crap farms in the area."

My life at this point is centered around editing Iraqi research reports (written in some language somewhat loosely related to English). I spend hours at the computer numbing my mind with phrases like:

“this site invert to salin graund in the july month (locals)”

"around this site are found rice field and put its west in this marsh, to keep this marsh more healthy don't put this west in this marsh."

"So we can consider bad water quality; over fishing; using bad fishing way and miss explicit planning to manage fish worth in Iraq as the important constrain opposite progress and re-health status of fish community in south."

"During the summer survey the team scan the fifth points of the seasonal marshes the main dominant species in the seasonal marshes was one of the summer visitors water birds belong to waders order and especially the Lariuidea family which is the White-winged Black Tern ..." (this one goes on another 15 lines like this, with only one single period)

Punctuation is a killer. I have yet to see one of our staff use the "," or the space key in a uniform way, except uniformly incorrectly. And there is no easy way to fix that except going through it one by one by one. Also they seem to love to put in the "." in the wrong place or put in none at all to create the longest run on sentences in history (I don't understand this because it would be just as incorrect in Arabic to do this)!

That is a killer .which will drive me over the edge one day ,

Common mistakes:

There's the simple stuff that even English writers get wrong. For example, "its" instead of "it's"

But then there are what I call the "sound-spellings" of which there are many examples: "tow" instead of "two" (It doesn't seem to matter how many times I say, "Yeah, I know it sounds like "tow" but it is spelled T-W-O."). And "inter" instead of "enter" or "mean" instead of "main"

Run on sentences, with no punctuation at all, so you don't know where it all begins or where it will ever end (which, of course, seems like never!).

And of course there are the Arabic place names that can be spelled in English in an endless variety of ways. Always a joy to try to standardize.

This more than anything, perhaps more than the recent turmoil in my job, will burn me out in the end.


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