The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, October 14, 2002

It bites tadpole of the wax

What happens when an English phrase is translated (by computer) back and forth between 5 different languages? The authors of the Systran translation software probably never intended this application of their program. As of April 2002, translation software is almost good enough to turn grammatically correct, slang-free text from one language into grammatically incorrect, barely readable approximations in another. But the software is not equipped for 10 consecutive translations of the same piece of text. The resulting half-English, half-foreign, and totally non sequitur response bears almost no resemblance to the original. Remember the old game of “Telephone”? Something is lost, and sometimes something is gained.

Via Mr. Barrett, Lost in Translation

It's a neat little application that uses BableFish to convert to and from English five times and produces some rather amusing translations. We have years yet before anything remotely close to a universal translator is invented.

Oh, and the title? That's what you get when you translate a transliteration of an American company into Chinese through the above application.

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