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Don't You Love Online Translation?

By guffin in MLP
Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 01:03:41 PM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)

Translation engines are great, when they work. When they don't, the results are often quite funny. For example, you can use Intertran to translate between many languages, including english to english. These translations are horribly mangled.

Here's an example:
  • kuro5hin: "technology and culture, from the trenches" becomes "skill with knowledge, because love furrow"
Note: It seems to be much funnier when used on pages with less content and shorter sentances, like personal home pages and the like. I tried mine, and it was hilarious. Also, there is a 'daily quota': you can only translate so many words per day.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


I would translate 'Bob Dylan eats red Cheerios' as
o Bob Dylan feasts upon blatant festivities. 4%
o Bloody Cheerios, eating Bob Dylan. 10%
o Cheerily eating, Bob Dylan read. 6%
o Cheerios eat red Bob Dylans. 5%
o All your base are belong to us. 72%

Votes: 137
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o Intertran
o kuro5hin
o Also by guffin

Display: Sort:
Don't You Love Online Translation? | 28 comments (26 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
cr.yp.to: Translated (3.00 / 1) (#1)
by qslack on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 11:30:38 PM EST

Terminal motion at be the cause ofcr.yp.to. Distinguished number special [you] greatness exist smallness hence:
D. J. [Bernstein's] place of meeting number;
love [qmail] place of meeting number;
love [djbdns] place of meeting number;
love [ucspi]-[tcp] place of meeting number;
love concealment number.
Pass one's time in knowledge
Lovecr.yp.to pass one's time in [is] place internal love Part incomplete [Mathematics], Numeration, with Numeration Knowledge [at] love School incomplete [Illinois] [at] Fashionable.
DNS good, HTTP/FTP good, with transfer good [are] greatness through [djbdns], [publicfile], with [qmail] specially. Love [operating] order [is] Begin 2.8.

Crossing evil
Transfer violence permanent [these] eventuality. In the circumstances [you] perpetually be attentive transfer violence hencecr.yp.to [doesn't] be, prithee be late [a] the present time with experiment twice. (love Be inside Transfer 2000 [infrastructure] [is] exempt be the cause of [these] topic)
2000-11-16: Love.be the cause of [administrators] be destroyedyp.to, hence reasoning special confute [not] [been] answer. [They] experiment be the cause of quantify love topic early, in return [it] continue hence great Instantaneity, hence Join past definite space-displace plan.

You say sites w/ content aren't good? (3.00 / 1) (#2)
by Potatoswatter on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 11:31:25 PM EST

Try Real World Technologies with InterTran.
"Eat these postings internal love Information with Vision School"

And wtf are all those down-arrows?

myQuotient = myDividend/*myDivisorPtr; For multiple languages in the same function, see Upper/Mute in my diary! */;

I think... (none / 0) (#5)
by guffin on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 11:42:21 PM EST

...they are so you can translate the page into another language or something like that.

[ Parent ]
Mystery Arrows (none / 0) (#9)
by Wonka! on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 12:07:50 AM EST

If you hold your mouse pointer over the arrows, textboxes with alternate words/ meanings pop up

-- look out honey 'cuz I'm usin' technology
[ Parent ]
Part be the cause of Feel Pleasure Animal (none / 0) (#8)
by Wonka! on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 12:05:37 AM EST

It translates National Hockey Night as Human Amusement Darkness.
It's somewhat more useful as an amusement than a translation.

-- look out honey 'cuz I'm usin' technology
[ Parent ]
Heeeey.... (3.50 / 4) (#4)
by Signal 11 on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 11:40:35 PM EST

All your base are belonging to us, when tranlated into spanish and then back into english becomes:

lock, stock and barrel her flat are belonging until USA

Interesting. I wonder what would happen if Zero Wing was run through this translator and send back to Japan as a US import..........

Society needs therapy. It's having
trouble accepting itself.

The whole thing (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by CanSpice on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 01:23:29 AM EST

The whole thing, translated into Japanese and then back, courtesy Babelfish:
Something happens? someone placed us on the bomb. We obtain the signal. What! The Mainscreen is attached. As for that you! So it is! Is you how a gentleman? Your basis everything belongs to us, it is. As for you to destruction there is a method. What which you say! You do not possess your time which makes the chance which continues. Hectare hectare hectare. Take all zig. You have known those which you have done. Movement " zig " for large justice. You were warned. All your base are belong to us. You are ON the way to destruction. What you say! You have No chance to survive make your time. Hectare hectare hectare Take OFF every zig. You know what you're doing. Move " zig " For great justice. You have been warned.

--- I don't have a sig.
[ Parent ]
The Zero Wing phrase (none / 0) (#6)
by guffin on Fri Mar 02, 2001 at 11:51:00 PM EST

If anyone knows what it's supposed to be in Japanese and can get it translated to English...

In the real... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by qslack on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 12:42:38 AM EST

In the real version, it is "we own all of your bases."

[ Parent ]
From the gamefaqs.com FAQ (4.33 / 6) (#14)
by zephiros on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 01:15:34 AM EST

A more accurate translation for the original japanese intro would be:

A.D. 2101
The war began

Outside Ship - An explosion occurs.

Ship's Bridge
Captain: "What happened!?"
Mechanic: "Someone detonated bombs all around us!"

Close-Up of Excited Communications Officer
Operator: "Captain! Incoming transmission!"
Captain: "What!?"

Ship's Bridge
Operator: "Image coming through on the main monitor."
(CATS appears)
Captain: "You... you are...!!"

Close up of CATS
CATS: "You appear to be preoccupied, gentlemen." (sarcasm)
CATS: "Thanks to the cooperation of the UN forces, we've taken over all of your bases."
CATS: "Your ship too shall soon be destroyed."

Close up of captain & CATS
Captain: "Im.. Impossible!"
CATS: "We thank you for your cooperation." (more sarcasm)
CATS: "Enjoy the remaining moments of your lives...."

Ship's Bridge
CATS: "Hahahahaha ...."

Close up of Forlorn Captain
Operator: "Captain!?"

Ship's Bridge (ZIGs on monitors)
Captain: "Launch all ZIG fighters!"

Shows a ZIG pilot powering up
Captain: "We leave it up to them..."

Shows a ZIG moving into launch position
Captain: "Give us hope for our future..."

ZIGs on monitors, Bridge Explodes
Captain: "We're counting on you, ZIG!!"

The ship explodes.
A lone ZIG zooms into view!

[translated by WooJin Lee and two sheepishly anonymous persons.]
Kuro5hin is full of mostly freaks and hostile lunatics - KTB
[ Parent ]

Heh (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by guffin on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 05:44:19 PM EST

I meant to put the orignal japanese into the wonderful translator here and see what kind of english it spits out.

[ Parent ]
I got it! This IS the engine (3.00 / 2) (#10)
by cezarg on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 12:22:55 AM EST

that translated this story.

PS. No I could NOT resist.

Duh! (none / 0) (#11)
by cezarg on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 12:39:03 AM EST

It's already in the poll! Nevermind, I tend to make an arse of myself every now and again...

[ Parent ]
English :: Italian :: English (3.33 / 3) (#16)
by imperium on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 08:16:18 AM EST

My favourite such rotational translation made "About Us" into "Approximately We". Delightful!


About to as good as gold square deal. (4.83 / 12) (#17)
by Anonymous 6522 on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 03:34:14 PM EST

Captain: Than it is to become of?
Mechanical: Somebody configure we the bomb
Operator: We get I advise
Captain: Than it is to!
Operator: Central display screen attach.
Captain: IS you!!
Cats: How are you gentlemen!!
Cats: All your entry level they are be at due place at the
Cats: You are on the way to bane
Captain: Than it is to you say?
Cats: You have did not advisability keep body and soul together do your own amount of time
Cats: Ha ha ha ....
Operator: Captain!!
Captain: Take off all of 'ZIG'!!
Captain: Bandwagon 'ZIG'.
Captain: About to as good as gold square deal.

That translation engine sucks (3.33 / 3) (#18)
by delmoi on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 07:42:00 PM EST

I mean really, I'd hardly call that 'state of the art' in any way. Babelfish's output might be pretty bad after three or four run-throughs (or maybe just one :) but it's a hell of a lot better then the 'identity' on that page.

Whoever wrote that translator, well, sucked.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Text-to-Speech (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by Malicose on Sat Mar 03, 2001 at 10:35:17 PM EST

Multilingual Text-to-Speech Systems at Bell Labs has online TTS synthesizers for American English, German, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, French, Italian, and Canadian French. Also available are a a Pig Latin "translator" and a system for digit sequences.

Too true ;) (3.50 / 4) (#20)
by /dev/niall on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 04:17:08 AM EST

From my website, "Microsoft Office XP Smart Tag SDK" translates to "[Microsoft] Agency XP Physical Pain Sequel SDK".

So true, so true. ;)

"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot

Funny Story (3.33 / 3) (#22)
by LaNMaN2000 on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 12:04:57 PM EST

When I began to require that all websites using a service I offer be in English, I received a very nasty e-mail from a .de e-mail address claiming that I am just another "arrogant American" who expects the world to speak his language. The decision to mandate the use of English was based in economic neccessity and not a devotion to English so I decided to send my response in German as a show of good faith.

I wrote the response in English and used Babelfish to translate. While it did not create the right paragraph structure, my extremely limited knowledge of German was enough to create the proper text blocks.

The next day I receive a response stating that he understood my intentions were not bad, but would appreciate if I would resend IN ENGLISH, because the German was incomprehensible. He was able to deduce that what translates to "data-storagemedia," meant database but had no idea what the majority of the message meant.


Lenny Grover -- link-spamming to make Google give me my name back!
Calling all MT people (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by leviathan on Sun Mar 04, 2001 at 07:56:06 PM EST

The name 'Intertran' rings a bell, but unfortunately I can't find the MT (machine translation) notes I made. Isn't this the result of the European research from the 70's? There a are two concrete reasons why it's worse than babelfish, and one possible fundamental. The project that led to babelfish began much earlier than Intertran (I think babelfish was started in the 60's, and intertran in the 70's), and also Intertran has to cope with translating between far more languages that Babelfish ever could.

I think that the Intertran system attempts to deconstruct the grammar further, whereas Babelfish is basically a huge mass of pattern matching, one pattern for every construct in a language. Intertran is meant to be smaller, faster and more intelligent, but it all depends on the theory that there is a fundamental aspect to all languages. In simplistic terms, Intertran attempts to understand the sentence and spit it out its meaning in another language, whereas Babelfish just has a massive, *massive* phrasebook, one book for *every* pair of languages it handles.

Looking at the results of Intertran though, it seems to be failing to recognise any context and just falling back on looking the words up far too often. At least Babelfish has given some returns, even if the timeframe was much longer than ever originally envisaged. Unfortunately, the theory of Intertran has yet to be proven. It was always meant to overtake Babelfish within a few years. Ah, well.

Of course, if Intertran isn't the tool I'm thinking of, then this could all be gibberish (hey, run it through Intertran, see what you get!). Hence the title; this is all from very kurroded memory. By the way, Babelfish came from a project started by the US government, and Intertran comes from Europe (intended to bridge the language gap across the continent). Read into that what you will!

I wish everyone was peaceful. Then I could take over the planet with a butter knife.
- Dogbert

Dick (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by inpHilltr8r on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 02:14:44 AM EST

Is anyone else's brain screaming 'Galactic Pot Healer' by Philip K Dick. The protaganist starts the book playing a chat room game where someone scrambles a film/book/whatever title through a japanese translation engine, and back to english, with the object being to guess the original title.

Or are you all still laughing at zero wing?

What you say?

"we have taken over all over your bases" (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by WWWWolf on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 09:18:40 AM EST

This will probably not be that interesting, but anyway...

I took the better translation of the famous overused meme and translated it to there and back (German as intermediate language). The result was pretty interesting...

(I didn't provide direct link to the FAQ from which I got this text - the file at gamefaqs.com had been renamed "zero_wing_please_stop_linking_directly_to_this_file.txt" =)

The result is almost as good as the original engrish translation.

A.D. 2101 the war began

out ship one detonation occurs.

ship bridge

leader: "what happened!?"
mechanic: "one detonated bombs all around us!"

fold up up over excited communications officer

operator: "leader!!"
leader: "what!?"
ship bridge operator: "estimate coming through on the chief test"

(cats appears)

leader: "You... she are...!!"

open up over cats

cats: "she represent lost in thought, misters" (sarcasm)

cats: "thanks the of the troops, we have taken over all over your bases"
cats: "your ship to become as soon as being annihilated"

open up over

leader: "impossible !"

cats : "we thanks when your delight the remaining factors over your lives...."

Ship's bridge....

Close up over

lost: "!?"

: "put on all umpteen !"

one umpteen taxes powering:
"we leave it up to them..."

Shows one umpteen movable into put on

"give us hope for of our future..."

ZIGs away monitors

bridge: "we are calculation away she !!"

ship umpteen aggrandisement into software

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

More obfuscation (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by weirdling on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 06:28:19 PM EST

These things are fun to play with, but I wonder if perhaps a use might be found if the process is reversible: simply translate something often enough and no one has any idea what it means, but the target person/organization knows the translation order and can try to detranslate it.
Of course, this requires a translator/detranslator pair. This idea is probably an indication my mind is fried and I need to go home...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
Speaking of translation: (none / 0) (#28)
by cbatt on Mon Mar 05, 2001 at 09:43:35 PM EST

I read this funny little story on my Yahoo! new service (via ZDnet News).

It's entitled "What is the limit to Moore's Law". It talks about, in completely garbled pseudo-tech, intel's 10ghz transistor breakthrough.

It's relation to this K5 post:

Microprocessors built based on 30-nanometer transistors will enable computing applications not possible today. A 10GHz processor could power a universal translator -- similar to a device used on Star Trek. For example, an American tourist shopping at a market in Paris could speak English into a walkie/talkie-like device. The universal translator device would then automatically translate the tourist's question and audibly relay it in French to the shop owner

Needless to say, I had a great laugh that caused my co-workers to turn around and grumble at me.

Before you can understand recursion
you must understand recursion.

this is just ridiculous (none / 0) (#29)
by crazycanuck on Tue Mar 06, 2001 at 04:28:57 PM EST

it shouldn't even be considered as a translation. More like a random association of words.

here's an example of a slashdot article.

Broadcasting HDTV On Analog Bands
Posted by michael on Tuesday March 06, @04:14PM
from the free-3-D-glasses dept.
Texas writes "Check out this new development in HDTV signal-encoding tech. As you know, HDTV currently requires an entirely separate broadcast channel, which the FCC have allocated to current broadcasters in order to simulcast HDTV and regular NTSC signals. This new tech from Los Alamos puts the HDTV info into the current NTSC band, and is even compatable with analog TV (which won't see the additional HDTV data since it's hidden in vestigal sidebands and unused closed caption data space). Also, this new method only requires slight changes to current NTSC broadcast stations and HDTV receivers, and will not make current analog sets obsolete."
( Read More... | 17 of 36 comments )


Disperse HDTV Forward [Analog] Canonicals
Connecting medium through [michael] forward [Tuesday] Definite space 06, @04:14PM
because love disjoined-3-D-optical Instruments [dept].
[Texas] express by words number" ultra special dissimilar increase internal HDTV great-[encoding] [tech]. Completely [you] be certain, HDTV existing be insufficient [an] truly be disjoined disperse furrow, [which] love FCC confute [allocated] be the cause of existing disperse intentional [simulcast] HDTV with uniform NTSC great. Special dissimilar [tech] because [Los] [Alamos] [puts] love HDTV [info] [into] love existing NTSC assemblage, with [is] uniform [compatable] among [analog] TV ([which] [won't] be attentive love increased HDTV evidence in the circumstances [it's] unintelligible internal [vestigal] [sidebands] with unaccustomed shut beginning evidence time). [Also], special dissimilar order to a small extent be insufficient small be irresolute be the cause of existing NTSC disperse relative quantity with HDTV receptacle, with resolution [not] be composed of existing [analog] [sets] past"
( Interpret Additional. | 17 incomplete 36 reasoning )

this is not a translation. it's garbage.

Why MT won't be workable for a long time (none / 0) (#30)
by solri on Wed Mar 07, 2001 at 01:47:54 PM EST

Speaking as a sort-of-applied-linguist ...

IMHO, the main reason MT doesn't work, and won't work for a long time is that the people who write such software have little idea about how language actually works - the dominant paradigm still seems to be some kind of Chomskyanism, i.e.

  1. There is some kind of Universal Grammar which can represent all languages;
  2. Individual grammars are formed by setting different parameters in Universal Grammar;
  3. Semantics is a mapping of arbitrary symbols onto a grammar;
  4. Pragmatics (i.e. what something means in context) is unimportant.

This kind of linguistics appeals to coders, because it makes language resemble code. Unfortunately, it doesn't; natural languages are messy, fuzzy metaphorical beasties. I'm sure that one day we will have computers with the processing power to perform operations analogous to what the brain does when processing language, but that day is a long way off.

"Nice philosophy may tolerate unlikely arguments" - John Ford

Don't You Love Online Translation? | 28 comments (26 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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