Give me ketchup in a corner
October 5, 2017 2:54 AM   Subscribe

When your language is too small for Google Translate, you've got to take things into your own hands.

Throughout these centuries, when the Faroese talked to God and priest and bailiff and teacher and any other authority in Danish, their own language was alive and well in ordinary life as they toiled in boats, farms and fields – and especially in the villages, where life had hardly changed for centuries. Among ordinary people, the heart of Faroese culture beat strongly.

The language was never quelled. It was just biding its time, waiting to be released again, which is exactly what happened in the latter half of the 19th century. The Faroese language blossomed.

The Faroe Islands is an archipelago of 18 mountainous islands located halfway between Iceland and Scotland in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The islands’ population of nearly 50,000 is spread out across the 17 inhabited islands.
posted by Iteki (38 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is very much NOT like Google translate at all - your phrase is sent to a real person who records the phrase and uploads it for you! Wow!
posted by freethefeet at 3:11 AM on October 5 [11 favorites]


I love everything about this. Now I want to go visit there!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:14 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


This is genuinely awesome. I love the way the whole thing is presented, the execution, everything. Heck yeah preserving "minor" languages!
posted by Dysk at 3:15 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


Wow! Some guy in an aircraft hanger just said the thing I typed in their language!
posted by floam at 3:24 AM on October 5 [3 favorites]


> I love the way the whole thing is presented, the execution, everything.

Indeed. They may be remote but not from the modern web. Their main web site is fantastic. Poking around in there I see that back in about April (and reported here in July) they decided that the lack of Google Streetview there was a bad thing and started the rather fantastic SheepView360 project - technologically wonderful but also designed to get attention, with great success: Google arrived just four months later!
posted by merlynkline at 3:28 AM on October 5 [9 favorites]


Obviously, a marketing stunt for tourism, but I'm sold!
posted by floam at 3:28 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


OK, so I don't know what year it is :/ They've been on the cutting edge of the web for a year longer than I said :)
posted by merlynkline at 3:34 AM on October 5


Literally the first thing I tried was "good morning" (as it's the crack of dawn where I am) and what do I stumble on as the first response?

Hello. I am the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands. Your translation is as follows: Góðan morgun. [Video link.]

Love it.
posted by andrewesque at 3:42 AM on October 5 [30 favorites]


I like meatballs!
posted by y2karl at 4:10 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


it's working , it's working

so excited
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:17 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


someone needs to create a mashup of these
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:25 AM on October 5


Indeed. They may be remote but not from the modern web.

They are good at this in the Faroes! They also have excellent broadband and 100% mobile signal coverage across the islands. Compare that to the nearest UK island groups, Shetland and Orkney, where broadband and mobile signal coverage is... pretty terrible, to be honest.

A large part of the reason why the Faroes do better than Orkney and Shetland here is Faroese Telecom, which is state-owned and concentrated entirely on the Faroes. For broadband, the only reason Shetland and Orkney are "patchy coverage" rather than "laughably terrible coverage" is Faroese Telecom. Broadband coverage improved massively because of linking to Faroese Telecom's undersea SHEFA-2 Cable (Shetland-Faroes), which connects the Faroes to mainland UK.

You can really see the difference when it comes to mobile phone signal, because Shetland and Orkney are covered by UK-wide private companies, who are somewhat less interested in providing comprehensive coverage to remote and rural islands when there's massive cities with huge populations a little way down south. Compare that to Faroese Telecom, who make a point of providing coverage across the Faroes, including literally islands with two people living there. Over the past few years, there's been a campaign to bring Faroese Telecom in to cover Shetland and Orkney, and Faroese Telecom are currently lobbying the UK Government to allow them to do it.

So not only do the Faroes really have their act together when it comes to digital communications, but parts of the UK are actually benefitting from and relying on them. A state-owned company in the Faroes, population 50,000, can serve them better than privately-owned companies in the UK.
posted by Catseye at 4:43 AM on October 5 [34 favorites]


so, has anyone asked how they pronounce "Mefi"?


*runs back out the thread fast*
posted by infini at 4:52 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


Hello. I am the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands. Your translation is as follows: Góðan morgun.

I am a horrible person and would not resist the temptation to keep feeding the result back into the left box, so I'm staying away from this.
posted by Dr Dracator at 5:24 AM on October 5


I really want to ask how to say "My hovercraft is full of eels" so, yeah, I am apparently still 14 years old.
posted by nubs at 5:58 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


It's weird how exciting it is to get a tiny video from some random person on a beautiful island.
posted by moonmilk at 6:16 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


The Faroes are awesome. I visited a few years back and it's incredibly beautiful. If leaden skies and treeless green landscapes are your thing, that is. (They are mine!) I can't believe I don't have more photos, here's a couple: one, two.
posted by Nelson at 6:40 AM on October 5 [9 favorites]


I asked how to say I love cats and got the cutest child in existence snuggling a kitty! This is the best thing ever!
posted by bile and syntax at 6:53 AM on October 5 [15 favorites]


I asked how to say 'Your knitting is beautiful' (as that is a sentence I would use a lot if I visited).

I like how it says "fumbling with a camera" and then "fumbling completed" while your translation is being dealt with.

bile and syntax, that is adorable. Although that cat looks, as usual for a cat being snuggled by a small child, to be extremely unimpressed.
posted by halcyonday at 7:23 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


halcyonday you are absolutely right but at the same time the cat is not trying to run off, which for a cat interacting with a small child is a serious statement of devotion.
posted by bile and syntax at 7:27 AM on October 5 [7 favorites]


I really want to ask how to say "My hovercraft is full of eels" so, yeah, I am apparently still 14 years old.

So I gave into my impulse and discovered that I am not the first. My inner 14 year old is both satisfied and miffed.
posted by nubs at 7:38 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


"Aliens are real" (with a guest star)
posted by mcduff at 8:29 AM on October 5 [4 favorites]


"...yep! 👍🏼"
posted by moonmilk at 8:46 AM on October 5 [2 favorites]


Just a poor boy who needs no sympathy
posted by moonmilk at 8:53 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I've been (slowly) learning Swedish, and it's interesting how you can tell Faeroese is from the same language family.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:00 AM on October 5




Unfortunately, I suspect this will last about 15 seconds beyond the point where 4chan notices it.
posted by tavella at 9:52 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Once I realized that my ridiculous inquiry was being translated by a real person I closed the window and ran away, screaming.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:00 AM on October 5 [5 favorites]


Unfortunately, I suspect this will last about 15 seconds beyond the point where 4chan notices it.

I'm having a fantasy where people just translate the requests from 4chan as "I am an asshole living in my mom's basement" or the like.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:49 AM on October 5 [6 favorites]


They wouldn't translate "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike. I want to ride it where I like." - maybe they don't have bikes?
posted by aniola at 11:52 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


Or maybe they're all out for a bike ride.
posted by aniola at 11:52 AM on October 5


I didn't know what to expect. Within a minute, my video of "I don't know what to expect" had been sent to me.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 12:33 PM on October 5


Why, yes. Yes I do.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:28 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]


These are some very attractive people. Not to mention nice as hell. I am officially a FaroeFanatic.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 1:59 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


They do! They do have bikes!
posted by aniola at 9:04 PM on October 5




Just noticed this on the sidebar. This post over at CyclingTips is worth a look for the incredible landscape photography of the Faroes.
posted by markr at 11:04 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


Oh that post is lovely. Particularly this part
we decided to bring along a kayak and kiteboard that we could use to make the crossings between the islands where and when it suited us.
I mean, it's also kinda crazy. But then so is cycling through those terrifying one lane tunnels. We were super nervous about them in a car!
posted by Nelson at 6:35 AM on October 20


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