Why non-native English speaks should have english speaking proofreaders

i-75fa6f7cebb4145668724f37f5a52b36-steve_icon_medium.jpg Oh you crazy non-English speaking people... please please please take the extra effort and get someone like me with a dirty mind to proofread your papers. And Editors... get your mind INTO the gutter and things like this won't happen.

It all starts innocently with this perfectly normal sounding setup:

Chem. Commun., 2007, 1733 - 1735, DOI: 10.1039/b614147a
Electrochemical synthesis of metal and semimetal nanotube-nanowire heterojunctions and their electronic transport properties

Dachi Yang, Guowen Meng, Shuyuan Zhang, Yufeng Hao, Xiaohong An, Qing Wei, Min Ye and Lide Zhang

Metal and semimetal nanotube-nanowire heterojunction arrays have been achieved by sequential electrochemical-deposition inside the nanochannels of anodic aluminium oxide template with a layer of Au thin enough to leave the pores open.

Neato, Eh?! This is where it all goes horribly wrong:


Uh oh... cunt. uhhh huh huuuh heh huh huh.... I think I'm going to start a Beavis and Butthead knockoff where we read science papers. Maybe Mystery Science Theater 3000 would be a better show to knock off. meh... hehe... cunt.

-Thanks Terry! Via Carbon Based Curiosities-

More like this

That's nothing.

I live in Russia and some time ago I worked as a consultant at security consulting company named "ЩиÑ" (means "Shiled").

Guess what name they used in their first international contract?

Answer: "Shit" (_transliterated_ "ЩиÑ") :)

By Alex Besogonov (not verified) on 08 Aug 2008 #permalink

Damn. Russian text was garbled. You should have set UTF-8 encoding for your blog :)

By Alex Besogonov (not verified) on 08 Aug 2008 #permalink

Wait, there's a science where you spend all day studying cunts? Where do I sign up?

Foole - it's called gynecology, and it takes (most of) the fun out of it...

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 08 Aug 2008 #permalink

Unfortunately, it's not just the non-english speaker. There is a drosophila mutant called shibiri (often shortened to shi) which results in paralysis. One allele of this gene is temperature sensitive, often denoted by a ts superscript after the abbreviation.

I seem to recall a grad student (now a successful postdoc), who did a poster on her work with the allele. She was lucky, but irritated, to discover that somewhere during the production of her poster, it had lost the formatting. She now had a poster discussing all sorts of aspects of 'shits.'

She obviously redid the poster...

As a related note, I was reading an article on fruit fly aggression in a recent issue of Nature (I'm sorry, I forget which one, but it was recent), and came across the phrase "other flies just beat the shit out of each other."

While I try to keep my language fairly clean, I'm not shocked that easily (yes, I know that's just begging for a humiliating schooling by reality). I will, however, confess to being surprised.

Well, I managed to name one of my files test.tcl before noticing how said file name is pronounced. Luckily enough, I didn't send it to anyone.

Look at the positive side: the paper is about HETEROjunctions.

By Lassi Hippeläinen (not verified) on 08 Aug 2008 #permalink

That's nothin'. I've been living in Japan for the past year, and the amount of mangled English in the official advertising of major companies is simply reprehensible. It's not like there aren't any native English speakers around to check, either; it's more like they're too proud to admit that, after 6 years of mandatory English instruction, they still can't understand the language worth a damn.

By J. Grybowski (not verified) on 09 Aug 2008 #permalink

How about a kids game called:


Seriously. The '&' was quite small in the logo as well. Beaver was later renamed Stomper :)

By Ernst Hot (not verified) on 09 Aug 2008 #permalink

A real-life proofreader (well, ex-proofreader) here...

A truly professional proofreader would not have corrected this. We might have queried it. But our job was not to "correct" things, it was merely to make sure the typset copy matched the manuscript. I think what you wanted was an editor.

By speedwell (not verified) on 10 Aug 2008 #permalink

Why non-native English speaks should have english speaking proofreaders

I think what you meant here was "Why non-native English speakers should have English-speaking proofreaders."

Was the irony here intentional, or accidental? ;^D

By the way, I am an editorial assistant (i.e., proofreader) of peer-review material, and I see stuff like this all the time from American engineers as well as those whose first language is not English. I rather enjoy it; it provides me with some badly needed entertainment value.

~David D.G.

By David D.G. (not verified) on 10 Aug 2008 #permalink

I direct your attention to:

A mutant crp allele that differentially activates the operons of the fuc regulon in Escherichia coli

Unfortunate translations also sometimes appear on the labels of consumer products. Quiz bowlers are especially fond of presenting such "How's that again?" gag gifts to players at tournament's end, which is how one of my friends was once awarded a package of imported instant noodles labeled "Cock Soup."

By Julie Stahlhut (not verified) on 11 Aug 2008 #permalink

In a high school debate case we once had an important citation belonging to a Dr. Fuck. We decided it was pronounced fook, at least for the purpose of our case.

By Peter Borah (not verified) on 12 Aug 2008 #permalink

I dont know where u come from, but Im astonished about how arrogant English speaking persons can be. As far as I know, they are the most hostile against foreign languages themselves. There are more people speaking Chinese and perhaps more speaking Spanish also. This is a very arrogant blog - as a German I dont expect someone to speak my language in the world - English speaking persons do. This makes the difference.

Hear, hear, Steve

Foole - it's called gynecology, and it takes (most of) the fun out of it...

Posted by: Pierce R. Butler | August 8, 2008 8:29 PM

Ah, yes, that means you have to interact with the support system for the -eh- interesting part!
There's always a downside to things.

Sadly, it happens to native speakers too. About 5 years ago or so, Canada's two major right-wing political parties merged: the ancient fiscally centre-right/socially moderate Progressive Conservatives, and the upstart fiscally right/socially conservative Reform Party.

One of the terms bandied about for the new merged party was the "Canadian Conservative-Reform Alliance Party", or CCRAP. Needless to say, the press had a field day.

By False Prophet (not verified) on 03 Sep 2008 #permalink

English Proof reading software helps us, especially editors, to review and correct the errors before delivering the writing assignments. Such tools not only save valuable time, but also act as a virtual teacher, educating writers through on-the-job correction and training.