Skills: Where did this English come from? Part 1

Posted on Fri 10 Jun 2011 @ 8.36am UTC

Here’s a small reading comprehension/identification/editorial exercise.

[Original text follows]

My ex boss asked me for password of my MSN (aka. Windows Live Messenger) today, (it’s also used as my primary email box contacting with my customers during the past years), before paying me salary of the last months, and, after my resignation for almost an entire month, when all of my customers’ goods were sent out (orders received before leaving his company) by myself.

I already gave this password to him, that’s say I lost control of this MSN/Email completely as from today, and, I will also have no connection with [company] any longer, any more emails coming from the email address [] are not written by myself. (My name is [name]). I will fully quit this business of buying/selling/trading transponder keys/key blanks/remote keys, etc.

Had been working in [company] for almost 3 years, I was very tired and completely lost all my interests on keys. I am very much fed up with these items, and will not deal with it any more. I had a long rest for the last month, and will probably do the same thing continuously this month… I will have to make a decision where to work/what to sell after September. God bless me.

[Total 209 words]


Can you identify these things just by a first reading the text?

  1. The probable ‘nationality’ of the writer.
  2. Whether the writer is a native or non-native English speaker.
  3. Which words or phrases are being used incorrectly.
  4. How the text could be improved. (Leave your edits in comment area below.)

By ‘nationality,’ take it to mean in a loose way: being broadly where the writer had grown up and learnt English.

The ability to do the above three things is highly important for translators because they often affect how the translation could be done and the output produced.


This exercise is fairly typical of 99% of editorial and translation work worldwide. It is not an academic exercise. It is the usual type of work that a customer would pay you to do. Normally, you would spend around 20 to 30 minutes at most on it.


See tomorrow’s post.

© Learn English or Starve, 2011.