One of the things that I find so fascinating about the internet is the way it breaks down barriers. No longer is the world out of reach... now you can visit far away places and make friends in foreign lands from the comfort of your own home. Lines on a map and political barriers disappear. And, as if that weren't enough, online language tools can even eliminate language barriers.
Well, kind of.
Every once in a while, I check my error logs to see if there are any bad links I need to fix, pages missing, or anything else that makes Blogography a poor experience for my visitors. While I'm there, I also like to take a look at popular links to see where people are going. And every time I look, I see more and more translation links showing up. Visitors are regularly translating my pages into foreign languages, and I find that very cool.
But today I actually took the time to see what they were translating.
And now I'm freaking out just a little bit.
The most translated entries all seem to be the most bizarre.
Take for instance my entry from June 28th, which has been translated numerous times in various languages. I'm guessing it's a popular search result with foreigners because I am bitching about the Bush administration not addressing the "Downing Street Memo" or doing anything to explain the "apparently false" pretenses that sent us to war. No big deal. BUT later in the same entry, I have this freaky rant against all the news coverage of people finding body parts in their fast food. And, to make my point, I decide to invent my OWN "body part in food scenario" -- the Penis Salad.
In my native English, it's a little disturbing. And the fact I felt the need to draw a cartoon to illustrate matters doesn't help much...
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu said nothing about chopped penis in my garden salad, and I'm a vegetarian."
I was immediately curious to know how this translated into other tongues. So I used online translators (like Google's) to see what happens. I then take the result and translate it back into English...
Some of the translations are not so bad (though "penis" has become a proper noun for some reason?)...
Uhhh... entschuldigen mich, aber das Menü sagte nichts über gehackten Penis in meinem Gartensalat und mich sind ein Vegetarier.
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu did not say anything about chopped Penis in my garden salad and in me is a vegetarian."
But other translations are downright frightening...
Uhhh... 나에게를 용서 한다, 그러나 메뉴 말하지않았다 나의 정원 샐러드안에 잘게 자 른 남근에 관한 아무것을,및 나는 이다 채식주의자.
"Uhhh... In me it forgives, the vegetarianism which is anything the penis which but the menu my regular staff salad which it does not talk and or cuts small inside regarding it sleeps."
Still other translations vary in quality... from strange to incomprehensible...
Uhhh... m'excusent, mais le menu n'a indiqué rien sur le pénis coupé dans ma salade de jardin, et moi suis un végétarien.
"Uhhh... excuse me, but the menu did not indicate anything on the penis cut in my salad garden, and me am a vegetarian."
Uhhh... me excusa, pero el menú no dijo nada sobre el pene tajado en mi ensalada del jardín, y mí es un vegetariano.
"Uhhh... excuses to me, but the menu did not say anything on the penis sheer in my salad of the garden, and me he is a vegetarian."
Uhhh... lo scusa, ma il menu non ha detto niente circa il penis tagliato nella mia insalata del giardino ed in io sono un vegetariano.
"Uhhh... the excuse, but the menu he has not said nothing approximately the penis cut in my insalata one of the garden and in I am a vegetarian."
Uhhh... desculpa-me, mas o menu não disse nada sobre o penis chopped em meu salad do jardim, e no mim é um vegetariano.
"Uhhh... forgives me, but the menu did not say nothing on the penis chopped in mine salad of the garden, and in me it is a vegetarian."
Uhhh... 私を許すが, メニューは 言わなかった私の庭サラダ及び私の切り刻まれた陰茎についての 何もである菜食主義者。
"Uhhh... I am permitted, but, the menu word trap concerning the penis where my garden salad which is applied is chopped up what, and the vegetarian where am I."
Uhhh... 劳驾, 但这份菜单认为无事关于被砍的阴茎在 我的庭院沙拉, 和我是素食主义者。
"Uhhh... excuse me, but this menu thought the safe about the penis which chops in mine garden salad, with me is the vegetarianism."
Uhhh. förlåta mig, utom menyn sa ingenting omkring hacket penis i min trädgård sallad, och Jag er en vegetarian.
"Uhhh. excuse me, except menu said nothing about chip penis in my time garden salad, and I'm a vegetarian."
Uhhh. afsakið, en the matseðill ómerkingur óður í kjötöxi getnaðarlimur í minn garður salat, og Myndað af I am a grænmetisæta.
"Uhhh. excuse me, while the menu nobody crazy about cleaver phallus into my park tossed salad, and Alluvial with I am a vegetarian."
Uhhh. ddiheura 'm, namyn 'r ddewislen eb ddim am faledig penis i mewn 'm ardda salad, a fi m a vegetarian.
"Uhhh. I excuse' ores, except' group menu said anything about ground was miscarrying in' ores I plow worst, I go I ores I go vegetarian."
So much for knocking down barriers. I'm fairly certain that I'm setting back foreign relations a hundred years all by myself.
I guess when the Welsh declare war on the United States, I have nobody to blame but myself.
CHAPTER 23: It's Beginning to Burn a Lot Like Christmas.
LEGO ADVENT CALENDAR TOY OF THE DAY: Pizza Oven and Cook's Paddle.
Lego Dave has finally caught up to the evil Lego Buzz, but things are looking grim for our hero as he is about to be beaten to death with a frying pan...
"Time to die!" shouts Lego Buzz as he moves in for the kill with his cookware.
"Barky, I've failed you!" Lego Dave says despondently. "Forgive me!"
As he backs away from Lego Buzz and the cast-iron skillet of death, Lego Dave suddenly finds himself backed against the pizza oven. Out of desperation, he starts flailing wildly... searching for anything to defend himself with.
Miraculously, his hand soon finds itself grasping the pizza oven cooking paddle. With all his strength, he whirls the paddle in the air and catches Lego Buzz's chin in a vicious uppercut, knocking him to the floor!
"ARRRGH!" screeches Lego Buzz. "You'll pay for that!"
But Lego Dave is undeterred. Gathering all his strength, he circles around the evil Lego Buzz and strikes him with all his might. The force is enough to send Lego Buzz flying forward... right into the mouth of the oven! With a roar, the oven erupts with a violent burst of fire, consuming Lego Buzz in an a flaming inferno!
Within moments, the screaming subsides, and Lego Buzz's body goes limp...
"At last... he's gone." says Lego Dave with a sigh. "Rest in peace Barky, my best friend."
And then, just as Lego Dave is catching his breath, a dark, menacing voice resonates through the air...
"I'd like my hand back, if you don't mind."
Holy crap! It's Lego Buzz Junior... FLYING IN THE AIR! What could this possibly mean?
FIND OUT TOMORROW WHEN DAVE'S "A VERY LEGO HOLIDAY TALE" FINALLY CONCLUDES!
I love comments! However, all comments are moderated, and won't appear until approved. Are you an abusive troll with nothing to contribute? Don't bother. Selling something? Don't bother. Spam linking? Don't bother.
That is hysterical! And you’ve given me the name of my new band: Cleaver Phallus. Opening act? Lorena and the Bobbitts.
The problem is that by translating twice you’ve made the translation worse.
The only way to get a proper feel for what people are reading in the translation of your piece is to ask a native speaker of each language to translate (with a good manually translation) back to English what he is getting.
You might be surprised. Some of the translations might not be so bad if only translated once – it’s the double translation that really messes things up.
You’d be very hard-pressed to find a Welsh person who didn’t speak fluent English anyway. The majority natively speak English and only learn Welsh at school (it’s compulsory for Welsh students to learn Welsh at school), and the others, who natively speak Welsh, are usually pretty good at English too. Everything in Wales is usually in Welsh and English.
Hahaha, you have a vegetarian penis inside you! I also love the french, i’m imagining a restaurants menu printed on a big dildo centrepiece in the middle of a garden.
All nouns are capitalised in German. No worries about the penis.
Jen: Cleaver Phallus is a totally cool name for your band. Send me a T-shirt when you go on tour.
Mike: That’s a relief! Though I have to wonder how bad things get when you re-translate the translation, then translate THAT back to English?
Neil: My brief sojourn into Wales was made very scary by all the road signs that had impossibly long words that seem to be unpronounceable by mere humans. Therefor I have come to the conclusion that native Welsh-speaking “people” are, in fact, aliens from another planet who are here to destroy us. And I, for one, welcome our new Welsh overlords.
MRKisThatKid: As much as I like French food, I dare say such table decorations would make me lose my appetite! 🙂
Sven: This is odd. I have been to Germany several times, even studied German when I was younger, and do not recall capitalized nouns! How oblivious am I?
Mike is right. The French and Italian are pretty close to the original. The translation back to English is making them seem further out of whack than they are.
I continue to be endlessly entertained by the widget translation services you screen cap’d up there from Dashboard. And if you keep going back and forth between English and another language it gets worse and worse like a horrific game of telephone.
Happy Holidays, if that’s your bag, D.
hey dave.. just dropping by to wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS! be good now..
that was hilarious; the illustration of the penis in the salad made it even funnier.
At least they all got the “Uhhh…” part right.
Merry Christmas, or whatever offends you least, my friend.
And…pizza oven? I don’t get the Lego Advent set AT ALL.
Thanks, Dave. Just cancelled my upcoming trip to South Korea. I had planned on visiting some prostitutes there, but with all these translation problems, I became a little concerned about being misunderstood concerning what I wanted her to do to me.
definitely funny. by the time i got to the Italian and Portuguese translations, i was laughing hysterically.
catching up on all your posts a bit late, but it makes for an interesting Monday.
I actually know some spanish, and “mi es” is totally wrong. It should be relplaced with “yo soy” or just “soy”. Saying “mi es” is like saying “I is” instead of “I am”. That must be what spanish nuns beat children for…