Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Ever since of the pan which is cut thin being best
  [vote for,

I'm sure many people here have played about with the Babelfish translator, translating text into another language and then translating it back again. The results can be funny, surreal, nonsensical, and (after a while) tiresome. Babelfish doesn't understand the text, which is why it can make such a pig's ear out of its task.

Luckily, human translators exist, and they are on the whole much better. A good translator will comprehend the original meaning so well that, in instances where no direct translation is possible (e.g. with an idiom or play on words), they are able to create new phrases which capture the essence of the source. This creative aspect of a translator's work is often overlooked, with the author given credit for a particularly beautiful combination of words which did not originate with them.

In a bid to redress the balance somewhat, I'd like a human version of the Babelfish game. Stories, perhaps even whole novels, would be interpreted out of and back into their source language - each stage by separate translators. I think it would be interesting to see just how the translators change the text, and how these changes are influenced by what intermediate language was used.

-alx, Aug 11 2002

(?) Babelfish translation http://world.altavista.com/
It tries its best, bless it. [-alx, Aug 11 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

The Alltoostupid Translator http://www.alltooflat.com/funny/trans/
Uses the google translation engine to translate their mediocre humor site to german, french, spanish, italian, or portuguese, and back to english again. [BinaryCookies, Aug 12 2002]

Dialectizer http://www.rinkworks.com/dialect
Does text, or entire webpages. (Try cnn.com) [Mr Burns, Aug 13 2002]

(?) Do your ears hang low http://www.amandashome.com/ears.html
the madradish babbled original [FarmerJohn, Aug 13 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) Engrish http://www.engrish.com/
One part amusing, one part mildly offensive, one part study of language inconsistency. [polartomato, Aug 14 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

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       expensive. it'd be expensive. I'd recommend developing a good relationship with a bilingual friend.
watermelancholy, Aug 12 2002

       I would like a taco sandwich with bungee cords
I would like a sandwich it parquet block with handles it lifter with spring
Mr Burns, Aug 12 2002

       "No sex please, I am from the United Kingdom."
"Nummer sex är du snäll, jag är från Förenade Kungariket."
"Number six, you are nice, I come from coupling the royal rich."
FarmerJohn, Aug 12 2002

       You can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear
> Korean
³Ê´Â ŸÏÅïÁö ±ÌÀÇ œÇÅ© Áö°©À» ¹ÛÀ¸·Î Á¦Á¶ÇÓ Œö Ÿø´Ú
> English
The cancer which it spreads out thway ci it will be able to manufacture the faith silk purse at the outside
thumbwax, Aug 12 2002

       (Second generation): It manufactures the silk purse which it believes outside this of it and that of thway ci phye will be cancer silver ability at the outside
(Third): It that of the thway ci phye which manufactures the silk purse which this of it believes outside outside cancer silver ability and
Babelfish really isn't very good as a translator, but it's immensely surreal.
angel, Aug 12 2002

       English: My hamster has nausea, the pneumatic tubes make him sick.   

       Japanese: 私のハムスターに悪心が, 気送管する彼を病気にある。   

       English: In my hamster evil intention, him who the air shooter is done is a sickness.   

       Oh, btw, I will be out-of-town and wil therefore have no access to the halfbakery from wednesday to sunday.
BinaryCookies, Aug 12 2002

       If machine translation is this jerky, try to imagine machine simultaneous interpretation (the oral version of translation used in the UN and other international meetings). The cognitive processes involved are of such complexity that chances are nothing short of full AI will replace the human translator/interpreter. We hope.
panamax, Aug 12 2002

       True story: I have a friend who went to Siberia for the last camp session, (I went on the first session), and had no translators for a few days. But never fear, one of the Russian camp staffers spoke Romanian, which is similar to Italian I guess. And my friend spoke some Spanish, which is also similar. So they were able to communicate on some level. God knows whether they were interpreting correctly, though.
RayfordSteele, Aug 12 2002

       Ray, I understand you my dear. [pats Ray on head - sorry run out of sugar lumps]
po, Aug 12 2002

       In other news, I read of a mechanized complex that was developed and tested by soldiers in croatia. they said that combined with basic sign language skills could accomplish lots.
watermelancholy, Aug 12 2002

       <I thought this would be...> Breed a _really_ tall person, climb up him and speak to God </I thought this would be...>
calum, Aug 13 2002

       Twice cycled (All Displays are in English):
English > (Chinese) > (French) > (German) > (Italian) > (Japanese) > (Korean) > (Portuguese) > (Spanish) > English:
English: Breed a really tall person, climb up him and speak to God
(Chinese): Breeds one truly ‚l, rises he and with God converses
(French): Races one really, rises it and with opposite in God
(German): Really run one, ascents and with opposite one in the God
(Italian): Really make to work one, the rises and with opposite one in the God
(Japanese): Actually the one of of opposition 1 of God, make because it can use with rise
(Korean): Providence opposition 1 questionable matter one it holds actual because it can use in rise, it manufactures
(Portuguese): Substance that questionable one it arrests Real because he can be used in the ascension, it of opposition 1 of Providence manufactures
(Spanish): The substance that questionable it arrests true because he can be used in the ascent, of opposition 1 of Providence makes
(Chinese): This kind of matter, is suspicious it arrests really because he are possibly used are rising, opposes 1 Providence makes
(French): This kind of matter, is suspicious it really stops because it are probably employed rise, are opposed to marks of 1 Providence
(German): This kind of the affair, is it really notices, because it is probably assigned ascent, becomes opposite markings of 1 Providence distrustfully
(Italian): This kind of the transaction, is it really warnings, because probably the rise is assigned, becomes of forehead to the marcature of 1 Providence distrustfully
(Japanese): Perhaps, being to be able to allot rise, transaction of this type, warning that of amount really becomes the distrustfully to the marcature of 1 Providence, is
(Korean): It allocates the transactions of rise and this shedding of blood which as the total becoming the distrustfully real in the marcature of 1 Providence warns and the Perhaps and ability iss the fact that it is a thing is
(Portuguese): It places the transactions of the ascension and this spilling of the blood that I eat the total if to transform distrustfully real into marcature of 1 Providence warns and perhaps and iss of the ability the fact that is a thing is
(Spanish): It puts the transactions the ascent and the east to spill itself of the blood that I eat the total of perhaps if to transform very distrustfully true into marcature of 1 Providence she warns and and he is iss of the capacity the fact that is a thing
thumbwax, Aug 13 2002

       Translated: English > Jive > French > English   

       Jive: Breed some _real_ tall sucka', climb down him and rap t'God

       French: En multipliez _ vrai _ sucka grand ', élevez-vous en bas de lui et frappez le t'God

       English: In _ true _ sucka large ', you in bottom of him raise multiply and strike to you God
Mr Burns, Aug 13 2002

       My favourite:   

       English -> Portugese -> English
The low point of falling makes its ears that they scale and fro can you moor them in a knot can you moor them in a row can you launch them on its shoulder as a regimental soldier makes its low point of falling of the ears

       can anyone guess what it was originally?
madradish, Aug 13 2002

       Jep, "Do Your Ears Hang Low", see link.
FarmerJohn, Aug 13 2002

       To pick up on -alx's original point - sometimes the translator does get the recognition. Antony Burgess won an oscar for his subtitles on "Cyrano de Bergerac" (the Gerard Depardieu one). Not only did they have to convey the meaning, but had to rhyme in english, where the original rhymes in french. Tricky. Good job Antony Burgess has a brain the size of a planet and a considerable creative talent to boot. Sickening, some people, aren't they?
goff, Aug 13 2002

       Berry good Farmer, I guess the regimental soldier does make it a little obvious
madradish, Aug 14 2002

       Well, I wonder how exactly this game would be implemented... it would be better as a sort of university research experiment. (Gives them something to do when the hamster wheel breaks.) Oh yeah, see link. Engrish is a site where you can see how Japanese translated to English can turn out kind of badly... although the site is patently politically incorrect.
polartomato, Aug 14 2002

       My favorite Engrish: the "Fack You Man" graffitti...
Mr Burns, Aug 14 2002

       on the other hand, if you really are amused by that mechanical touch that gets added to your proverbs, there are humans who can imitate that too. visit my spanish class any day, you'll get "nose with chicken." when you ordered "rice" (arroz con pollo, nariz con pollo, same thing) and...huh? I'm pregnant? I thought I said I was "embarasa
dingbats247, Aug 14 2002


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