Saturday, 12 June 2010

Will mistranslation lead to cooperation with Edmonton Police Service?

The Edmonton Police Service of Canada is working hard to solve homicide cases as it posted, in Somali websites, information for "a person or persons" who will receive $40,000 on any homicide case EPS solves on the basis of information provided by the community . When you click the link of the EPS ad, it leads to an EPS homepage with Somali language information. Entitled ABAAl-MARRIN ( the correct spelling is ABAAL-MARIN), the Rewards Information for Somali speakers contains three spelling errors caused, I think, by poor grasp of either the target language or the source language. Inevitably, this situation has led to mistranslation and misinformation. The sentence:

"The Edmonton Police Commission has approved the payment for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for various murders throughout the Edmonton Area." was translated into Somali as:

Dan-jiraha Booliska Magaalada Edmonton ayaa ogolaadey in la silyo $40,000 "Dilkiiba"( The Edmonton Police Commission has approved the payment of $40,000 to each "Homicide". Qofka ama Dadka ka keena warbixin Dilka iyo Dhimashad loo geystey Marxuumyada hoos ku xusan."The persons of persosn who bring information about murders of the perosns whose neames are:"

Does Edmonton Police Service use criteria for commissioning translators to translate information for people who speak community languages? Mistranslations do not lead to cooperation. Since The EPS is looking for information that can help detectives solve youth homicides in Edmonton, the Service ought to show it takes community languages seriously. Information in English is far better than a poorly translated text. The chance of finding someone who can tell you the gist of the information in Somali orally and correctly is bigger than the chance of securing the cooperation of the communities if EPS publishes incorrectly translated information for communities for whom English is not a first language.

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