Language confusion

Yesterday I was setting up a job using the SAP BAPI function BAPISDORDER_GETDETAILEDLIST. As always I google on a subject before I start, while googling I found a conversation like:

Question - How should I specify the parameter I_MEMORY_READ?

Reply       - It doesn’t harm to read the documentation in the program.

The documentation in the program reads:

SPACE = zuerst Pufferzugriff, dann DB-Zugriff, 'A' = nur Datenbankzugriff, 'B' = nur Pufferzugriff


If your only language is English, you may have problems to understand this. If you’re only knowledge of indo-european language is bad English the above explanation may be incomprehensible. But there is help, feeding the phrases into Google translate gives:

  1. ‘zuerst Pufferzugriff, dann DB-Zugriff’         -> ‘first buffer access, then DB access’
  2. ‘nur Datenbankzugriff’                                -> ‘only database access’
  3. ‘nur Pufferzugriff’                                -> ‘only buffer access’

Now this should be understandable for most people with a basic understanding of English. But it is a hell of an effort to find the relevant phrases in text you do not understand and then feed them into Google translate. On the positive side you are not limited to english, if I feed the first phrase ‘ zuerst Pufferzugriff, dann DB-Zugriff ’  into Google translate I can choose my native Swedish which gives ‘ första bufferten åtkomst, då DB åtkomst ’. Well that was maybe bad luck it’s gibberish, it may look like swedish but it doesn’t mean anything. Even if you have access to Google translate you may need more helpful advice than RTFM, if you do not have a better advice you should maybe not answer at all, or do not give that type of comments, it do no one any good.

These days when English is the Lingua Franca of the world you see a lot of strange English, this post is good example of that. And I have said many things in ‘English’ that have amused others. E.g. my tongue easily slip on the vowel in ‘cook’ making it mean something else.  

Even if you know English well as a second language, you will translate into English differently depending on your native tongue, cultural background and nationality. From working with MRP systems I’m well acquainted with the phrase ‘ Part number was not found ’. A swede would probably say ‘ Article number missing ’ while a german put it like ‘ Material number was not possible ’. I once was talking with an American and an Englishman, the english guy was telling about a car accident he had with a lorry , I could tell from the expression on the american guy he didn’t quite understand, so I jumped in and said he means a truck . ‘Uhha’ said the American.

I do not know if this a true story or not. When the swedish company Electrolux started to market their vacuum cleaners in the US they used the slogan ‘ Nothing sucks like Electrolux .’ I know of a swedish company who tried to sell a range of environmental friendly  beauty products and perfumes in the US using the brand name ‘ Nature calling ’.

1 comment:

  1. You seem to be correct regarding the Electrolux ad, see http://www.google.se/imgres?q=electrolux+old+american+ads&um=1&hl=sv&sa=N&tbo=d&biw=1680&bih=931&tbm=isch&tbnid=b2GL87UwM_pjWM:&imgrefurl=http://lovehateandmarketing.com/&docid=EgnOiGbGIL-b-M&imgurl=http://erikmehl.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/electrolux.jpg&w=473&h=238&ei=RmSzUKDWL-bI0QX1nID4Cw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=199&vpy=599&dur=836&hovh=159&hovw=317&tx=186&ty=82&sig=115298748102375951518&page=2&tbnh=135&tbnw=265&start=47&ndsp=52&ved=1t:429,r:73,s:0,i:307