1. I was born in a grim, airless place.
Interested in Language
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen!
If this is not against the rules of the forum and you feel like engaging in such a tedious work, I kindly ask you to choose one of two versions of a sentence (approx. 30 sentences). Which one sounds more natural to a native speaker, and is easier to read?
This is a text to be used as subtitles to a certain video. I'm not sure I'm allowed to provide a link to the video, as it is not yet made publicly available. But, I am the author of the original text (Russian). The "a" versions in English are also mine. The "b" versions are a proof-reading of my "a" versions, made by a third-party editor, without my knowledge or consent . I don't know who the guy is, but he/she is claimed to be an experienced editor and a native speaker. I have some doubts about it, though. I do think that in a few cases the editor's version is an improvement to my version. But in many others it is a change to the worse (imho). I hope you could help me clarify the situation.
Some sentences are identical in both versions, but given all the same just to keep the story whole. For space's and time's sake only one version is given for the identical cases.
You could reply with something like: 1a, 2a, 3b, 4a etc., where the number is the number of the sentence, and the letter is the preferred version.
If you find both versions equally bad, a better version of your own would be greatly appreciated!
If you don't feel like reading all the sentences, any number would be of help .
WARNING!!! SHOCKING CONTENT!
To steak or not to steak?
I was born into a grim stuffy place.
I was born into a filthy and stuffy place.
Of course I expected this world to be quite different, but I could hear my mother's tender mooing, and it partly assuaged my fear.
Of course I expected to enter a different, better world, but as far as I could hear my mother's tender mooing, my fears subsided a bit...
That very minute, though, I was roughly shoved into a wheelbarrow and taken away.
On that very minute, though, I was roughly shoved into a trolley and taken away.
My mother rushed after me, but the cold iron stall as callous as humans, thwarted her at once.
My mother tried to rush after me, but the cold iron pen, harsh and merciless as the humans are, thwarted her desperate attempts.
5) She was denied even the simplest pleasure of licking me.
6) This was the first and last time we saw each other.
The sole flicker of light in her poor dismal life was stolen straight away.
A single faint glimmer of light in her miserable and bleak life was stolen straight away.
But I was yet to learn that my own life, like my mother's, would be a horrible endless nightmare from the very first moment to the very last.
But I still had to learn that my own life, like my mother's, would be a horrible and endless nightmare, from the very beginning to the very last moment.
I spent two days in a cramped enclosure with other fellow victims, where I was forcibly fed from a rubber teat with a queer liquid.
I spent two days in a cramped pen with other fellow victims, where I was forcibly fed a strange liquid.
When my legs grew strong enough I was immobilized in a tight single stall, to restrict my movements and prevent my muscles from growing tough.
When my legs grew strong enough I was immobilized in an isolated tight stall, to restrict my movements and to prevent my muscles from growing strong.
Those who have never seen calves merrily gamboling and frisking in the open, are scarcely able to realize what a terribly excruciating blow this is to me.
For those who have never seen calves merrily gamboling and frisking in the open, it's hardly imaginable how excruciatingly painful it was to me.
Never in my gloomy life will I be able to express sincere artless happiness in such a simple innocent way.
Never in my gloomy life will I be happy and express it in such a simple innocuous way.
13) I am almost unable to lie, let alone stretch my legs.
14) For 4 months now I have been standing, day in, day out, tight ropes holding me by my neck.
I've been fed with special skilly rather than my mother's warm fragrant milk.
I've been fed an odd skilly rather than my mother's warm fragrant milk.
I have never seen sun. (meaning daylight)
I have never seen the sun.
17) I have never clung to my mother.
Awaiting death, I've been deprived of all the simplest joys of life.
And I've been deprived of all other simplest joys of life while awaiting inescapable death.
After 120 days of such dreadful existence, a sullen bumpkin will untether the helpless gullible calf, kick it into a trailer, take it to a hideous slaughterhouse and rather routinely slit its throat.
After 120 days of such a dreadful existence, a grumpy bumpkin will untie the helpless gullible calf and kick it into a trailer, to bring it to a hideous slaughterhouse and, rather routinely, slit its throat.
While the poor calf, appalled by this last shattering blow, is striving to escape the sticky paws of death, the man will hang the calf by its hind leg to the conveyer and send it to the butchering room.
While the poor calf, horrified by this last crushing blow, is striving to escape the sticky paws of death, the man will hang the calf by its hind legs to the conveyer and send it to the butchering room.
The calf will still be conscious when the flayer cuts off its front legs, to prevent being kicked, slits open its abdomen and tears out its viscera...
The calf will be still conscious when the flayer cuts off its front legs, to prevent him being kicked, slits open its abdomen and tears out its viscera.
22) The man has no time to waste waiting for the calf to die.
Оthers are awaiting their turn in this gruesome ritual, so delusively called "veal production".
Others are already awaiting their turn in this gruesome carnage, so delusively called "veal production".
Later in a restaurant you'll be served just a small piece of its carcass.
Later in a restaurant you'll be served just a small piece of the body.
You'll munch on it, cracking jokes or chatting about sublime matters like good and evil, war and piece, the injustice of life...,
You'll munch on it, cracking jokes or chatting about sublime matters such as good and evil, war and peace, pride and prejudice...,
and you'll probably never give a smallest thought to the pure innocent creature, whose cheerless existence and torturous senseless killing could make (even) a stone cry.
and you probably will never have even a single thought about the pure innocent creature, whose cheerless existence and torturous senseless death could make (even) a stone cry.
The steaming piece on your plate won't remind you of the poor calf who was robbed (by humans) of everything: its mother, milk, green meadows, sun, and life...
The steaming piece on your plate won't remind you of the poor creature who was extorted by humans of everything: its mother, her milk, green meadows, the sun, and life...
Even if it flashes through you mind sometimes, that you eat the flesh of a poor victim of unthinkable human avarice, you hastily get rid of the thought.
Even if it sparkles sometimes in your mind that what you eat is the flesh of a poor victim of outrageous human greed, you hastily get rid of the thought.
You know, like millions of other people you believe that you alone cannot change anything.
Like millions of other people you think that you alone cannot change anything.
Yes, millions of people think so, day after day chewing a piece of dead flesh.
Yes, millions of people think so, chewing a piece of dead flesh day after day.
If you are one of those millions who, though occasionally, but think about what's in their plates, please think now if you really want a steak at (for?) such a price.
If you are one of those millions who, though occasionally, may think about what's in their plates, please consider it now, is it what you really want - a steak at such a price?
If you hold life dear, choose mercy today.
If you value the life, choose mercy now.
It's long since proved that humans can live long healthy lives without animal products.
It has been proven for long time that humans can live long and healthy lives without animal products.
34) Humans can live without violence and murder. Humans can be humane.
Last edited by armruseng; 19-Feb-2016 at 08:13. Reason: slight correction for better clarity
1. I was born in a grim, airless place.
"Invading armies have no rights." Noam Chomsky
I'm afraid I can't give a detailed response. Most of the "a" versions read better than the "b" ones, though as you noted, some of the "b" versions have improvements. The "b" versions generally read like translations rather than as text that was originally in English.
If you have the option to do so, you might want to incorporate some bits of the "b" versions into your text.
I am not a teacher.
Thanks, GoesStation. Your reply is rather helpful. Unfortunately, I'm not the one to decide which sentences will eventually be used. The end user (who is to decide) is still sure that the proof-reader's version is altogether better than mine.
I am not a teacher.
1, 2, and 3 b are certainly not better.
"Invading armies have no rights." Noam Chomsky
Well, I don't think there are many egregious flaws in version B. It just sounded to me (exactly as you said) as a translation from another language. While in my A version (which, actually is a translation from my Russian original) I tried to make sentences sound more or less natural to a native speaker. And in some cases I find the B version not only smelling of Russian but also being a distortion of the original meaning.
In sentence 8 "I was yet to learn" was replaced with "I still had to learn" which to me, at least, sounds wrong.
As far as I know (or feel) "I was yet to learn" means "more unpleasant discoveries were yet awaiting me".
On the other hand, the proof-reader's "I still had to learn" sounds to me as if the subject was obliged or found it necessary to learn something. It doesn't make much sense.
Or "That very minute, though" vs "On that very minute, though". I find that "on" rather superfluous here, as if the proof-reader was trying to make changes just for the sake of changes and not for the sake of improvement.
Same for superfluous "and's" in phrases like filthy and stuffy (1), miserable and bleak (7) and other similar changes not lending to improvement.
PS Could you, please, be more specific about errors in sentence 31A. Apart from a missing space (which I've corrected now), it looks all right to me.
Last edited by armruseng; 19-Feb-2016 at 09:20.
Thank you, bhaisahab. It was exactly these 3 first sentences that got on top of me . And probably I was a bit too sharp in expressing my disapproval to the end user . And I grew even more upset when I discovered that it was next to impossible to explain anything to her. She just says she trusts her proof-reader and seems to be unwilling to hear anything else.
The fact is that I'm a native Russian speaker living in a Russian-speaking country. And the end user is also a native Russian speaker, but living in the US for 6 or so years. And I don't know who that third guy (the proof-reader) is. And the end user, who actually initiated the proof-reading without my knowledge, seems to hold my English in no high esteem , which is just a bit upsetting. Anyway, she's the creator of the video, and I'm just the script writer, so, I guess she has more rights to decide which verson will be used. Actually, if this was a commercial project I wouldn't mind any changes, as long as I'd been paid for my work. But this project is totally non-commercial, and we are working for the same goal, and I wonder why she is so inclined to go for the worse version. That's a puzzle yet to be solved