mercredi 21 mai 2008

Dr Jones has another talent: PLAGIARISM!

Our friend Professor Doctor Jones never ceases to amaze. Not only has he a multitude of addresses and occupations, and more degrees than you can poke a stick at, not only is he president of an international organization of psychotherapists, not only did he publish a book on the subject at the age of 19...but he is a pretty dab hand at copying and pasting too!

On his page, the good professor doctor charlatan has a selection of half a dozen “sample translations”. You don’t have to read far into them to realize he doesn’t know his elbow from his arse. The first sentence of his first “translation” reads:
A reduction in plasmatic testosterone concentration is observed.

(Emphasis added.)

The phrase in italics translates the French la concentration plasmatique de testostérone. Literally. The trouble is that English-speaking physicians never use the word “plasmatic” in that way. There are many possible translations of the French phrase: “plasma concentration of testerone”, “plasma testosterone concentration”, “concentration of testosterone in the plasma”.... No idiomatic English translation of this phrase, however, includes the word “plasmatic”. Only two sentences later, we have reference to a hormone being “salted out” by the pituitary gland. This is totally incorrect terminology, and a very obvious example of someone with no subject-matter knowledge (and I mean less than high-school level) blindly relying on a dictionary. (Grand Dictionnaire Terminologique gives “salt out” for relarguer, which just isn’t in a lot of dictionaries.)

So the guy’s an incompetent charlatan. We already knew that. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to find a relatively competent translation, from English to French this time, a bit further down, under the heading “FONDAPARINUX ET SYNDROMES CORONARIENS AIGUS”. It is amazing how the semi-literate Jones manages to convert the slightly unidiomatic English abstract into a quite well-written French rendering. It almost looks as if the French were the original.

In fact, the French is the original. It is the abstract of an article written, in French, by François Schiele and Jean-Pierre Bassand, entitled “Place du fondaparinux dans la prise en charge des syndromes coronariens aigus”. Naturally, being French speakers, the authors wrote the abstract as well as the article in French, but the journal required an abstract in English too, which Dr Schiele duly provided. Dr Jones’s contribution to the whole thing was limited to copying the original and translation, reversing the order, into his profile.

The French abstract is available online here; there are links to the English abstract and to the full text (in French only).

Not only is this guy an incompetent translator; he’s an incompetent fraud too! Imagine stealing something that’s available online: once someone’s suspicions are aroused, it is just a question of copying a sentence or two into Google to find the original. What a moron!

On past performances, Jones will respond to this revelation (when he finds out about it) by removing the offending material, as if that will save his lying arse. Of course his profile has been archived, immortalizing his deception.

The world, as I have discovered, is full of professional impostors, even in a low-status, low-profile, lowly-paid profession like translation. However, the frauds I have discovered or had drawn to my attention are probably only the tip of the iceberg: they are the ones who drew attention to themselves through absurdly hyperbolic or otherwise implausible claims or through manifest incompetence (or, in many cases, both). A successful impostor presumably has or takes the trouble to acquire a basic knowledge of the subject-matter in which he or she professes to be an expert.

PS: Dr Jones endorses the Professional Guidelines defined by

The guidelines start as follows:
Professional companies and individuals:
  • represent their credentials, capabilities and experiences honestly
  • [...]

Well, it doesn’t actually say that by endorsing those guidelines you are claiming to be one of these “Professional companies and individuals”, does it? You could be just another fraud and hypocrite, couldn’t you?


Once again I must acknowledge the sterling work of a professional colleague who probably wishes to remain anonymous for bringing this matter to my attention.

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