The Humor in Babel Fish

Recently, I have had quite a few readers view my blog in Spanish. That is, they used google to translate my blog. And so I, curious as to how “clever” the Spanish translator actually was, read the google-created Spanish version of my blog: Blog de Chan. I read my post “One Bharatanatyam Arangetram and a Dead Wide-Angle,” the title of which google translated to “Una Bharatanatyam Arangetram muertos y un gran angular” (i.e. “A Bharatanatyam great Arangetram dead and an angular one,” according to Yahoo’s Babel Fish translator.). Amused by these fantastic translation errors, I translated passages from my blog into Spanish and then back to English, Chinese and then back to English, Japanese and the back to English, Russian and then back to English, and so forth. One of the most humorous was when I translated “These are questions I have mulled over as I stare at the blank white ceiling before succumbing to the jaws of sleep,” which after a Japanese translation, became “These when the ceiling where I blank am white before submitting to the jaw of sleep, is scrutinized are the question which I examined simultaneously.”

To my monolingual readers, try using an online text translator to translate passages of my blog into some random language, and then back into English. And to my polylingual readers, try using google to translate the contents of my blog into one of your proficient languages. I assure you, it’s highly amusing.

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~ by thechanster on 8:21 am, Friday, August 29, 2008.

4 Responses to “The Humor in Babel Fish”

  1. Hahaha. That’s awesome. These online translation sites always surprise me with their ability to create nonsensical sentences better than any human ever could. I remember a few years ago when I had to write a Spanish project entirely in Spanish, I was stumped. My Spanish prowess ended after the ability to conjugate verbs and my vocabulary limited to classroom and daily life dialogue. How was I ever going to write about the Galapagos Islands using the word “chalkboard,” “t-shirt,” or “I like to swim”? So, of course I used Babel Fish and I remember the look on my teacher’s face when she read my rough draft. It was pretty sweet. :)

    And I wasn’t sure where to reply to the lovely comments you left on my blog…so I hope it’s okay that I leave them here. :)

    I miss you bunches too!!!! Let’s definitely hang out during NSO!!!! Maybe grab a few more of those orgasmically delicious crepes or something equally mind-blowing.

    I know what you mean about college. I think I still kinda see it as just a prolonged summer camp, where I’ll meet cool new people, eat dorm food, and then eventually go back home and do my boring routine.

    Oops, I just looked at the clock and I have to run. But I’ll can’t wait to reply to your other comments.

    Lots of love.

  2. Actually it is hilarious! Some of my readers use Google to translate my posts in French…

    Yet when some of my trainees use some free translator on Google (instead of writing their texts in French, they write them in English, then have them translated!), it gives me the creeps! Not because they show laziness, rather because they really do think the results are okay!!!

    Anyways… I really don’t know what is the purpose of having such an inefficient tool… Do You???

    http://lynedesroberts.wordpress.com

  3. haha I have had experience with the hilarity of google translate as well…I frequently will start talking to Shane in French, just for the heck of it and he has to resort to google translate. I assumed that he actually got something coherent back. And then recently I decided to double check…much to my amusement and consternation, I realized that most of the time my endearments sounded more like insane ramblings and occasionally insults haha. Furthermore, google couldn’t translate common words like “cheri.”

  4. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

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