HotAIR - Questions from the Chinese Translator

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Questions From the Chinese Translator


The Chinese edition of the book.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The book The Best of Annals of Improbable Research, which has already appeared in German and Italian editions and in the original English, now has a Chinese edition. The Chinese translator, faced with a difficult task, had some questions. We requested and received permission to publish this letter from him, on condition that he be given a pen name.


Dear Mr. Marc Abrahams:

Your email of August 14th reached me on Schedule. Thank you for your thoughtful "Preface for the Chinese edition."

The "challenge" you have left to translator and readers really is a difficult problem. Is it the title "A can of worms " for people to discuss tinned food of (the) earthworm? Is it the reason why the title is funny to mean "a complete mess" to English speaker? Does "on the statistical analysis of dirty picture" mean to discuss "pornographic film"? I don't understand why the title is funny either. I hope that you will not stint your criticism. Is it possible to give me the abstracts of these two papers. (It is very difficult for me to find these papers at this moment).

This translated manuscript is required to hand over within the next few days, but there remain many problems. The followings are some of them. Is it possible for you to find some time in the midst of your busy work to clear up these ambiguities? Would you please explain the following words or phrases briefly?

<>"The Stinker " (p.191 Figure 3 note) ( = "a troublesome man"?)

<>"mondocentrism" (p.81) ( = "the theory of the earth's core" or" = "the theory of the mono-center"?)

<>"Studmuffin" (p.170) ( = "a handsome young man"?)

<>"Administratium" (p.43) (what's the atomic number of it?)

<>"Veg-O-Matic", "pocket Fisherman", "Cap Snaffler" (p.42) ("consumer Engineering")

<>"Mr. Microphone", "Inside - the - Shell Egg Serambler" (p.42) ("consumer Engineering")

<>"Hellzapoppin", "the Friends of Daryl", "the King and Queen of Swedish Meatballs" (p.32)

<>"Global Village Idiot " (p.193) ( = "Global Village fool"?)

<>"Global Village Deli" (p.196) (= "the shop of prepared food in Global Village"?)

<>"Ann Landers" (p.91)

<>"effluvia" (p.202. the tenth line form the bottom,"Guideline for Authors") (= "disused manuscript"?)

<>"Research by and for adolescent males of all ages and sexes " (p.136 et al. ) ("All ages "must contain" adolescent "and "all sexes " must contain "males." Then which on earth it mean either "adolescent males" or "all ages and sexes"?)

<>"either nail or pin theory" (p.62 , line 8-9)

<>"accymosis" (p.50 ,line 1)

<>"Salad Shooters, eight- track tapes, Yugos, post-it Notes" (p.72)

<> Finally, "Mathematicians have a generally well- earned reputation for being not so much absent -minded professors as absent -minded dressors. That is generally because their minds are on other, finer things ,such as, truth ,beauty and money" (p.159)

<> Does the "dressors" mean" the men who are fastidious about their clothes"? In the second phrase, whose minds are " their minds"? whether the mathematicians are concerned with "truth ,beauty and money " or not?

<> In addition ,there are two problems from others .

<> In "The 1997 Ig Nobel Entomology prize winner" (Is the "insect splats" to mean "loud patter of insects," or what else it mean?)

<> In "The 1998 Ig Nobel Biology prize winner" (Is the "prozac" a "forage" for clams?)

Sorry to put you to so much trouble again and again. Thank you once more for your attention and support .

With best wishes
Yours sincerely
Chun Hui
2000/9/14

This HotAIR feature first appeared in AIR VOLUME 8-ISSUE 4. For a complete list of strangely fascinating featured articles elsewhere on this web site, see What's New.