Whilst looking for some statistics regarding Poland’s exports, which I have yet to find, I found this rather charming rant from the GUS, National Statistics Office.
It is a little old now as it dates back to April this year but it seems that a few public prosecutors were, for reasons unknown to me, being very successful in annoying GUS to the point that GUS needed to write an open letter (as linked to earlier) in Polish and English and place it on their website.
I’ve read the open letter a few times now and I have to say I am none the wiser as to exactly what the problem is. That’s because it doesn’t explain what the problem is, or was, it just rants on about the importance of secure data….on and on and on and on about it. There’s a hint that some prosecutors were trying to get (personal?) data that they shouldn’t have. There is no explanation of what data nor why it was wanted so badly or why it could not be got from other sources. I’m sure in Polish it is much better although even a really horrid translation couldn’t remove whole passages that explained the problem, could it?
Passages like this don’t help the understanding one little bit – they are not clever, they are very funny:
An evasion used to circumvent the rules of statistical confidentiality consist in changing statistical confidentiality to company secret in spite of explicit lack of legal basis and logical assumptions.
There’s also a letter on the website that was sent to the Minister of Justice. I really hope he read the Polish version as the English one might have taken him until now to work out –
Due to the interpretational misunderstanding and the understanding lack of the statistical confidence crux, being that the system of official statistics protects gathered individual data, prosecutor’s authorities applied sanctions including bailiff’s arrest on CSO President salary.
Obviously the president of the statistics office got his knickers in a twist because someone “arrested” his salary. I think I might get a bit heated if that happened to me but surely the whole idea of writing these things is to get your point across to the maximum number of readers, in this case both Polish and international. Passages like the above (the whole letter is not much better) don’t do that and are therefore a complete waste of time and effort.
It is not the first time I’ve seen this happening so I wonder if it is normal in such situations for Poles to get all tied up in pseudo-intellectual wordy nonsense, even in their own language? I’ve also noticed a tendency for Poles to come over all Shakespearian when translating “important” documents from Polish to English. Why does the change from Polish to English require a quadrupling of the word count by the insertion of a few hundred completely unnecessary words? Is it a kind of homage to our beautiful language, or what?
I do get very angry when I see translations like this because it is clear that someone has spent money on a translation service, probably a well respected and supposedly precise translation service, and what they have ended up with is gobbledegook! There must be an element of GIGO (garbage in garbage out) here but I have to wonder how far away from what he really wanted to, or should have said, was the Polish version and how much further away from that is the English one. I also wonder who, if anyone, checked the translation before they placed it on the website. Or does GUS have no employees with good English language skills?
Anyway, island1, where were we on that good translation service idea of ours? Surely there must be some people out there would would pay reasonable money to end up with something worthy of their name, or establishment? Perhaps we could start with the president of GUS!