Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Rebel Strikes Again

Sometimes people try to communicate things but do not word those ideas in ways that can be read without violent reactions. This causes a problem. The "fight" starts. Then that fight goes on and on with little to no moderation on the parts of the people in charge. I am going to be the rebel and address this right now.

There is a fight going on over, of all things, spelling and grammar. I say of all things because that is what some others say. Why of all things should spelling or grammar matter, but I am sorry to say it does matter.

Recently, well a few months ago, I did some translating of stitches from one language to another. I do not speak, read, or write the language I was translating from. I did use an online translator and wow do you get a suprise when you do so. Try going to one and typing in what you want to say, translate it to the other language then copy and paste that translation back to your original language that you typed in. Very often the re-translated block of text does not say what you started with. In some cases it translates to a totally different meaning. So you try again and again, till the translation does resemble what you want to say. Not an easy task, and very time consuming. Ask me, I know.

Now imagine a group with many people on it from different countries trying to communicate in languages not their own. Those people may be trying to use online translators to understand what is being said. A direct translation in good grammar with proper spelling is hard, but what about one that has improper spelling and the grammar is not good. Well, now you have an almost impossible task in doing the translation.

Ok now take that same wording with bad spelling and grammar but you both speak, write, and read the same language but a country across from each other. Well, your language is the same so it shouldn't matter, or should it? The answer to that is simple, it does matter if you are planning to use things that are local to your own personal area, or abbreviations that are not common. I can say taters at home but someone from an area that has no idea what a tater is will be lost. Maybe spuds would be better, but then maybe just plain old potato would be the perfect word to use.

How many times do you hear, I don't want to sound stupid but what does LOL, mean, or MIL, BIL, SIL, DS, DD, or very commonly, Frog or Frogging in the context of crafting with yarn. We do see the questions about these things asked. It is because these maybe wonderful to use in instant messaging but on groups or forums where there are a lot of people these meanings get lost because of lack of knowledge of them. Many people struggle along till someone else asks the question, What does this mean, then others come along to say, I was wondering....

It is hard enough trying to communicate to others from different backgrounds, different areas of the country or world without throwing in a mixture of local language, and those ever confusing abbreviations. Yes, I know that I am guilty of this also. It is hard, but we do try. It is when we don't that starts the larger problems, miscomminication. Did you know that in some postings the final outcome can be a direct insulting remark made to the person you are trying to help or just converse with, been there done that, in English to English. That was quite a shocker, insulting a friend and not ever knowing how or why because she was to shocked and upset to tell me. It must have been bad, but I never figured that one out. In that kind of case you just have to pass on that you never meant to insult, and continue with life hoping that it never happens again, but it could, since you don't know the cause.

Now let's take a look at a different area of translation. I started, like many, to get into the abbreviations, the shortcuts in language that keep many of us from typing the day away. Then I learned something. I have members on at least one group, and I have seen some of them on other groups, who are blind. Yep, you read that right. They are blind and they loom knit, some also crochet and needle knit. These people use a reader program for messages to groups. The problem is that those readers are only as good as the person typing the messages. They can only translate what they know. So a message with bad grammar and bad spelling will not translate so a blind person can understand. In this they miss a lot that might otherwise be beneficial to them.

As for me, call me guilty. Guilty of abbreviations, of bad grammar, of not spelling right, and of not checking over the messages properly to make sure that even if a word is spelled right but also that is it the right word to be using. Yep, I am guilty but I am trying to be better. Not for me but for those to whom it may matter. They are my online friends and that counts for more then my need to be fast in typing and getting on to the next thing.

So you say the groups posting do not have spell checkers. Yes this is so but there are other methods by which you can do the proper thing. In the beginning, I would use a word processor to check my spelling. Then I discovered a little thing that my son downloaded and added to my browser functions. It is a little program called ieSpell: Now I use this all the time.

Why he downloaded and installed it I have never asked. Certainly it wasn't for himself, this young man is the best speller I have ever met. His first and favorite book when he was just a little tiny guy was the dictionary. I had to purchase him a large one to satisfy his needs. Gee that book was almost as big as him. He didn't just learn the little words but learned some so big that I cannot even pronounce them. So I have a spell checker available wherever on the web that I travel at the click of a button, and I am learning to use it more and more where checkers are not available.

So think about it. Are you being understood by the majority of people, or are they passing your messages up because they are not understandable because of grammar and spelling? I certainly hope that the majority of people who read my postings do so with the understanding that I want them to have. It is something interesting to consider.

As for grammar many of the word processors will help you in that area. They will give you options for changing what you have written and give you some reasons why. Oh I am a bad speller, or so I was, the Internet is doing what my teachers never could do, teach me the right way to spell words. I am not as bad in proper grammar but I am not excellent either. I have my own problems but I try to fix those as I go.

My whole point to this is let you know that it does matter if you cannot be understood. That most wonderful thing you are trying to pass along can be lost in the fact that someone looks at what you wrote and cannot understand it at all. Then that wonderful thing is lost to those with out understanding till someone comes along to explain it all over again.

Ok so now you are upset with me because I tell you that it matters. Well, that is a part of being the rebel. I have to tell you the truth, it is the truth that matters more then my being that totally likable person that spreads nothing but joy in the wake of total misunderstanding.



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