Lost in translation

alternatively titled Clichés are us. Wonder how many times those three words have been abused since the release of the film. Oh wait – 62 million! Oh wait, let me dig in the bookmarks a little…. here it is, Carl Tashian’s Lost in translation lets you see what happens when an English phrase is translated by computer back and forth between 5 different languages. So if we start off with a relatively simple snippet from the Sanyo VI-2300 manual (pdf):

You’ll get the most out of your phone if you read each section. However, if you’d like to get right to a specific feature, simply locate that section in the Table of Contents and go directly to that page. Follow the instructions in that section, and you’ll be ready to use your phone in no time.

We end up with:

_ majority of ricev of You_ll its telephone, if you legg each section_ nevertheless if you_d with a specific unit for divent like exact, you the simple fact of trov that the section when satisfer and entr you dirigem this pagination _ obbed the section done of the instruction, and you_ll to wait for the use for utilizz its telephone between anything _

Not a fair test? Well there’s a rather good Wired article by Steve Silberman about the history and far distant future of accurate machine translation.

Anyway, I logged on to finish a post about favourite forrun words and ask about yours but this story from the BBC caught my eye and raised a quiet chuckle:

Bladder alert lost in translation

Road sign reads: Cyclists dismount, Llid y bledren dymchwelyd

Cyclists were left confused by a bilingual road sign telling them they had problems with an inflamed bladder.

The “cyclists dismount” sign between Penarth and Cardiff became “llid y bledren dymchwelyd” in Welsh – literally “bladder inflammation upset” (or tip or overturn).

It is possible that an online translation led to confusion between cyclists and cystisis.

Which led me to dig up some other stories in the pending to blog folder (Gordon will be so proud of me!).

OAP pays for op with fake cheque

A penniless pensioner from west London paid for a life-saving heart operation with a fake cheque.

Retired painter and decorator Roy Thayers was facing a nine-month wait on the NHS to get an angioplasty.

Instead, the 77-year-old wrote out a cheque for almost £9,000 for a private operation at Hammersmith Hospital – despite only having £10 in the bank.

He is now paying back the remaining amount of £6,481 in £25 instalments. He will be 99 by the time it is repaid.

Do go and read the rest of the story while I save the rant about how much this country is spending on “war” and sucking up to that bloody lot in the White House.

Abandoned mountain village found

The ruins of an extensive mountain village have been found on the slopes of the Sugar Loaf, near Abergavenny.

Can’t wait to have a look next time I’m home.

I can’t remember where I saw the link to Ten Thousand Statistically Grammar-Average Fake Band Names but what a source for blog names! For example:

Fireside Schedule
Vagina Pageant (A sassy, feminist blog or…, well I don’t want to think about the alternatives.)
Mossy Puss
Mnemonic Slugs
Locust Salvation
Iodine Workstation
These Bullish Years
Temperamental Beavers (oh Manly!)
Ambuscade Countryman
Penniless Photographer
Thankless Reporter
Figs Flushing
Buttercup Revenger
Frantic Smoker
Riverfront Tapings

This domain is due to expire soon, I am so very tempted to go get one of these instead…

And finally

A couple of quickies:

I guess those favourite words will have to wait for the morrow – night, night!

11 Responses to “Lost in translation”

  1. Calista
    August 17th, 2006 04:45

    That’s very similar to those rather obscure toys that are made in Japan. The instructions have been translated to English, and they’re decipherable, but they definitely are not proper English :-) I find them quite charming.

  2. Knock Knock Mary
    August 17th, 2006 11:56

    Can you imagine a technical person running something from one language into English and then proceeding to “fix” the thing based upon that outcome? Oh no, not my car! But, I once thought I was speaking perfect Greek and ordered a well roasted old man. Fortunately, they didn’t comply, but laughed at me quite a bit.

  3. Murphy
    August 17th, 2006 14:15

    That Road Cycle/Bladder Sign: Could it be the Welsh taking piss out of English Cyclists? (I experienced this myself cycling round Elan Valley Lakes in 1960 something….)

  4. Chatiryworld
    August 17th, 2006 14:30

    Not sure when I’m coming out of beta, November 2017 maybe?…

    Via Daisy. Make your own here….

  5. Gordon
    August 17th, 2006 15:59

    YAY for draft posts.

    The NEXT trick is to get around to finishing and publishing them! If you crack that one, let me know.

  6. Karan
    August 18th, 2006 06:44

    I taught my kids to the laundry early and often and to use the exact same method I use, stuff it in, dump in a cap of soap, shut the lid and spin the dial to the first line, then push. See? Simple.

  7. mad musings of me
    August 19th, 2006 19:23

    You clicked…

    It is just over a year since I installed “MyBlogLog” to track where you, my dearly beloved readers, are going. It’s not a perfect stats package – amongst other things, it was only last week it was able to record……

  8. mad musings of me
    August 19th, 2006 21:43

    25 Lines…

    A while ago I presented you with 25 lines selected at random from tracks residing on my computer, omitting non-verbal, non-English and songs where the first line is or acts as first line. Just to tidy up: 1. You can……

  9. jan
    August 24th, 2006 20:03

    Really enjoyed teaching my grandchildren to do laundry. It seems to be the only productive activity they seem to know.

  10. briggy
    August 25th, 2006 16:53

    the re-wrung versions read curiously like spam emails.

    i sense a dark plot here.

    two days off the bottle does that to a man.

  11. Anji
    August 26th, 2006 17:08

    I did a translation yesterday and spent some time scratching my head over fishermen putting fish ovaries in a ‘seal’, I should have put ‘bucket’. Both seem strange anyway but the bucket makes more sense!

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