Wednesday, 27 June 2012

First Article (Stub) in Chinese on Wikipedia

I wrote my first article in Chinese on Wikipedia on the day before yesterday. Well, it's only a stub (< 50 characters).

It's on my favourite newspaper The Indian Express or 印度快報.

It reads: 


The Indian Express is a major English daily in India.

印度 (India) + 快報 (Fast Newspaper) = 印度快報 (The Indian Express)
是 = is, am, are
印度的 = Indian
一份 = a (MW for newspapers)
主要 = major
英語 = the English language
日報 = daily newspaper

ਚੀਨੀ ਵਿਚ ਵਿਕਿਪੀਡੀਆ 'ਤੇ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਲੇਖ

ਪਰਸੋਂ ਮੈਂ ਵਿਕਿਪੀਡੀਆ 'ਤੇ ਚੀਨੀ ਵਿਚ ਪਹਿਲਾ ਲੇਖ ਲਿਖਿਆ । ਮੈਂ ਇਹ ਕਬੂਲ ਕਰਦਾ ਹਾਂ ਕਿ ਇਹ ਬਹੁਤ ਹੀ ਛੋਟਾ ਹੈ ।

ਲੇਖ ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨਪਸੰਦ ਅਖ਼ਬਾਰ The Indian Express ਬਾਰੇ ਹੈ ।

ਲੇਖ ਵਿਚ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ:


The Indian Express ਭਾਰਤ ਦਾ ਇੱਕ ਮੁੱਖ ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ੀ ਅਖ਼ਬਾਰ ਹੈ ।

印度 (ਭਾਰਤ) + 快報 (ਤੇਜ਼ ਅਖ਼ਬਾਰ) = 印度快報 (The Indian Express)
是 = ਹੈ
印度的 = ਭਾਰਤੀ
一份 = ਇੱਕ
主要 = ਮੁੱਖ
英語 = ਅੰਗਰੇਜ਼ੀ ਭਾਸ਼ਾ
日報 = ਰੋਜ਼ਾਨਾ ਅਖ਼ਬਾਰ

चीनी में विकिपीडिया पर पहला लेख

परसों मैंने विकिपीडिया पर चीनी में पहला लेख लिखा । मैं ये कबूल करता हूँ के लेख बहुत छोटा है ।

लेख मेरे पसंदीदा अखबार The Indian Express के बारे में है।

लेख में लिखा गया है:


The Indian Express भारत का एक मुख्य अंग्रेजी अखबार है।

印度 (भारत) + 快報 (तेज़ अखबार) = 印度快報 (The Indian Express)
是 = है
印度的 = भारतीय 
一份 = एक
主要 = मुख्य
英語 = अंग्रेजी भाषा
日報 = रोजाना अखबार

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Ugly English on Wikipedia

I read George Orwell's Politics and the English Language a long time ago. I didn't really understand it back then. In fact I couldn't even figure out what he was trying to say in the essay. Then I came across Robert Fisk of The Independent. And it was through his articles syndicated in The Tribune and lectures and speeches on YouTube that I understood what Orwell really meant.

If Orwell found written English of his time "ugly", I am sure he would cry 'horrendous' on seeing the English used on Wikipedia.

Look at this sentence: 

Jew also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and an ethnoreligious group... (Wikipedia article on Jews)

and compare it with this one: 

Jew, Hebrew Yĕhūdhī, or Yehudi,  any person whose religion is Judaism. (Encyclopaedia Britannica on Jews)

Now, I have no idea what does it mean when one says, "XYZ people are a nation!" 

Anyway, this preposterous contortion of language isn't limited to an article or two. It's more or less prevalent, and especially visible in articles on politics.

What worries me more, however, is that this prejudice is carried over to other language Wikipedias through translation. This article on the Russian Revolution on the Chinese Wikipedia doesn't cite a single Chinese reference.
This is rather strange. I don't speak Chinese but my hunch is that they simply translated it from English.