People on internet forums speak casually, with many errors and with much slang, it is not an ideal place to practice or develop English. There are also many variants of English language (and spellings) here from across the world. Occasionally, Aussies must translate something for the Brits; or the Brits for the Yanks, etc. How does a non-native speaker go on unless they are beyond fluent? And few are.
Our sharp humour and side-splitting repartee (where it exists) seldom translates literally; rather, it requires interpretation. Software cannot interpret; only people can. So the women who read here using a translation programme often read gobbledygook where the English variants, grammatical and spelling errors, slang and second meanings form a jumble of words that are far from what was intended by the respective authors.
Can bad English damage your communications?
It can. Many people try to cobble together a relationship with poor communication fuelled by free software translation. Software makes many errors; but more importantly, software is only as good as what you put into it.
As many will know, my wife does a lot of translation for guys in this pursuit. A few weeks ago, a guy sent her something for translation that she read, and read again, and much of it made no sense to her. The reason? No paragraphs, little punctuation or capitalisation and atrocious spelling and grammar.
She asked me if I would mind running quickly through it with a spell check, putting in a few paragraph breaks, and correcting the big howlers and try to turn it into something in a few minutes that she could comprehend. I did, and from that, she was able to make it in Russian, be what it was intended to be.
Missing punctuation leads to much ambiguity; meaning that one must ask the author what they meant, rather than it being clear in the first place. Get the punctuation right and the message (not to mention the translation) will be clear. Here is a good example of how altering punctuation can change the meaning:
- A woman without her man is nothing.
- A woman: without her, man is nothing.
I guess the point of the topic is to highlight to guys the importance of using the best English you are able to, when in communication with Russian, Ukrainian and FSU women.
Thoughts and comments welcome.