Lost in Translation
March 15, 2001 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Lost in Translation ?
TRANSLATION: This extension of the pagination the great energy of the translation of the confusion of Alta Vista.
ORIGINAL TEXT: This page demonstrates the great translating power of altavista's babel.
(via CasaFidel)
posted by howa2396 (45 comments total)
Holy mackerel, what fun. After diddling for a bit, I absolutely cracked myself up with this, from The Simpsons (and, if I recall, kottke):

Original English Text:
Purple monkey dishwasher.

Translated to French:
Lave-vaisselle pourpre de singe.

Translated back to English:
Dishwasher crimson of monkey.

Translated to German:
Spülmaschinehochrot des Fallhammers.

Translated back to English:
Dishwasher-high-red the drop hammer.

Translated to Italian:
Lavapiatti-alto-rosso il maglio a caduta libera.

Translated back to English:
Dishwasher-high-red the mallet to free fall.

Translated to Portuguese:
Dishwasher-elevado-vermelho o malho para livrar a queda.

Translated back to English:
Dishwasher-high-red the rammer to exempt the fall.

Translated to Spanish:
Lavaplatos-alto-rojo el pisón para eximir la caída.

Translated back to English:
Dishwasher-high-red the rammer to eximir the fall.

posted by Skot at 11:11 AM on March 15, 2001

What I find amazing is that it was able to retain "dishwasher" through all that but not "monkey."
posted by kindall at 11:14 AM on March 15, 2001

This could get boring quickly, but you won't believe what i got for
"Will the real slim shady please stand up"

posted by pk1000 at 11:22 AM on March 15, 2001

Don't send this to slashdot, please! A similar project once got listed there and was dead within a day, overloaded by all the traffic.

I've been doing this sort of thing by hand for a while now, and it's amazing what you can pull out of it. Or, more accurately, what you can read into the text pulled out of it.

posted by Mars Saxman at 11:29 AM on March 15, 2001

Just for kicks they should also have it go through the Dialectizer and then back to babelfish. Things could get very interesting.
posted by samsara at 11:40 AM on March 15, 2001

On second thought, maybe that's unnecessary :)
posted by samsara at 11:43 AM on March 15, 2001

Can you guess the original phrase that resulted in this text?

"Its superficial lower whole number is belongs to us."
posted by daveadams at 12:04 PM on March 15, 2001

that would be the "all your base..." - ah fuck it.
posted by cheesebot at 12:10 PM on March 15, 2001

And in repsonse to said phrase:
"They do not have of a certain way to survive dice probably to form its time."
posted by youhas at 12:32 PM on March 15, 2001

"As the plastic one is ingualmente corrected."
Encrypted, or gibberish? Glue piece of ham, cool, cool.
posted by mimi at 12:36 PM on March 15, 2001

For a couple of reasons, judging machine translations based on back-translations isn't really fair; even the best translators can't do back-translations with perfect accuracy. On the other hand, when I need a cheap laugh I often find a Japanese story, read it (I can do so passably, at least), and then machine-translate it.

Here's my translation of a paragraph:
"I'll come at 7 o'clock."
Was that a lie? The house where I wait alone is big and lonely. Without thinking, I draw near the Christmas tree we decorated together, searching for your warmth.

And the machine translation (the one built into Netscape 6; Altavista doesn't do Japanese):

" It goes at o'clock of 7, "
That word was lie?
Being single, as for the house which it waits, being wide, being lonesome. It was accustomed to decorating together, did, the Christmas tree. Unintentionally your cloudiness is searched depending upon side.

posted by Jeanne at 12:57 PM on March 15, 2001

"Silly rabbit, trix is for kids."
Idiot the rabbit, trix is for kidskin!
(Not so funny but... kidskin!?!)

"Out of sight, out of mind"
Of the Vista of the external alcohol for the part
(I was hoping for "invisible idiot," of course!)

"Where do you want to go today?"
Why our product suck witch-cow?
(Not really.)

And I tried doing it backwards, to give you guys a present, but it's one-way a function, folks.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:02 PM on March 15, 2001

Who can forget the immortal scene from the movies:

I know, the one that the thoughts. It regulated only fogos with six black points or five? He sinks truth to the word in this impelling mechanism that whole I have the type of the lost track. But, to be this one is 44 that Magnum, of that was the transformato inside in the greatest piece of handgun efficient in the world and its clean title arrives completely of ustioni, has the end to provoke a problem: I think about lucky person? Already of the well-being, punk?

posted by argybarg at 1:55 PM on March 15, 2001


if temporality is held to be invalidating, then nothing real succeeds

yields this:

if temporality continuous, the end to finish, then to follow applicable nothing

which, i think, has a fatalistic and depressing tone quite the opposite from the original :)
posted by Sapphireblue at 2:10 PM on March 15, 2001

At a recent gathering of very demented people, we had fun running song lyrics through the multi-babelfish paces. (French, Portuguese, German, Spanish and Italian.) The best was DMB's "Sweet like candy to my soul, sweet you rock and sweet you roll" which became:
The refinery of the sugar with my internal part, the cake, oscillated and the caramel, that rolled, like the cake.

Leave a light on in the sugar refinery in your soul.
posted by Dreama at 2:38 PM on March 15, 2001

My friends and me sing the Flood album in Dennys, the hamonies, even.
I love them so much. (friends and tmbg)
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:43 PM on March 15, 2001

Except that's not a tmbg reference.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:45 PM on March 15, 2001

::ahem:: ::cough:: ::ahem:: Damn repeat posts. Now I must flog you and send you to MetaTalk for punishment.
posted by aaron at 3:16 PM on March 15, 2001

*cough*i'm not seeing it*cough*

I don't see the repost here. It looks like a different link, and it doesn't even pull up. Plus, I did a brief search to see if it was previously posted and wasn't able to find this page or anything similar.
posted by howa2396 at 3:51 PM on March 15, 2001

Except that's not a tmbg reference.

Sure it is.
posted by redfoxtail at 3:53 PM on March 15, 2001

That's what I thought at first, but the line would be:

Leave the nitelight on inside the sugar refinery in your soul


Leave a light on in the sugar refinery in your soul

so I got confused.

posted by sonofsamiam at 3:56 PM on March 15, 2001

Some more classic movie dialogue:

To the interior of us we all and two soaps, that one you with the winner belong. They fix the part of the relative work, of which what, of that one he takes with him. If it is not this surface to leave the track and with her you, to rammaricar it to it. Possibly not today. Possibly not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of its duration.

But and we?

We always have Paris. We did not have, we who we destroyed it, until that one you you do not veto the Casablanca. We have red to we establish to make level this yesterday he.

When I said, you never he would leave them.

And he never will. But I have an end to select the work of the extremity, therefore. Where I go, you cannot follow. Which I must do, you I cannot very go. Ilsa, nao splendid good with the relative, but does not make the examinación very, the end to see that the three problems of sprites do not magnify with a assembly of fagioli in this alcohol-ill person of the world. Transformate of the day you inside in include/understand that one. Hour of the hour..., Visa here of her kidskin.

I'd love to run all my outgoing e-mail through this for a day or two.
posted by Lirp at 4:11 PM on March 15, 2001

The second amendment loses all meaning (something about bears and making sure the levers are working correctly in them, oh...and handspikes too), while the Gettysburg address becomes quite interesting.Fourscore and is seven years our parents, that one who obtain in this a new continent of the nation, in where the freedom is understood here and asked she who is dedicated the one that those all such men are manufactured.....this one one cause so that that one d last full to measure load devozione -- this one for risolv height this inoperative woman not to stop useless data

posted by samsara at 6:07 PM on March 15, 2001

"Somebody fixed ulteriorly to them to the collapse!" ???
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 8:02 PM on March 15, 2001

Translation: "The double of the type of the tree of the trowel of the beginning is my hero."
Original: "Double post guy is my hero."
posted by gluechunk at 8:28 PM on March 15, 2001

Aaron, did you have to blast to excavate that one?
posted by solistrato at 9:08 PM on March 15, 2001

"All your base are belong to us."
"Its superficial lower whole number is belongs to us."
posted by Potsy at 9:34 PM on March 15, 2001

hey potsy
posted by gluechunk at 9:35 PM on March 15, 2001

This is one of the coolest things I've seen in years. I especially like that it shows the foreign translations at each step so you can watch the meaning get convoluted. Applications like this are what makes computers worth all the touble.
posted by Loudmax at 10:02 PM on March 15, 2001

...er, trouble
posted by Loudmax at 10:03 PM on March 15, 2001

gluechunk: d'oh! Sorry.
posted by Potsy at 10:06 PM on March 15, 2001

There was an article in Feed last summer that was probably the inspiration for Carl's gizmo. One interesting finding the author made was that if you shuttle the text back and forth between two languages long enough, it eventually settles down to a steady state.
posted by jjg at 11:02 PM on March 15, 2001

To spare everyone the time and effort of manually churning through AYBABTU lines, I have painstakingly entered the entire dialog line-by-line and saved the results. They're here. Score one for random bouts of copious free time.
posted by youhas at 11:09 PM on March 15, 2001

Anyone have a pointer to what AYBABTU was supposed to be saying before it was translated?
posted by aaron at 12:02 AM on March 16, 2001

Lovely stuff. I can finally throw away my I-Ching book and my magic 8-ball. Everyone should try this....just type in a question (not one that can be answered just yes or no) babelize it and see if you don't get a response that can guide your actions through future turmoil.

ie: will taking that new job offer bring me happiness

"the will, that examinación of marks to this to fill to me new with the work, obtains the wealth"


do i have any hope of ever finding a soulmate?

"and it has each possible hope, therefore ritrovamenti of soulmate"

Aaaahhhhh, the darkness on my soul has lifted.Hahahahahahaha!

posted by fiery at 12:15 AM on March 16, 2001

aaron: Go here and click the "FAQ" link (they ask that people not link directly to it), and you will be enlightened in all things ZeroWing...
posted by Potsy at 12:28 AM on March 16, 2001

Whiteshoe.org has some great examples of the translation game, including such gems as "Prank calls to Moe the Bartender, translated by Computer from English to French, then from French to German, and finally from German to English" and others. And it won the sxsw2001 award for best content/e-zine.
posted by mtevis at 6:46 AM on March 16, 2001

They are my sun, sun of the mine only.
They return to me lucky, if the skies ash-gray are leached. They never know, how much you make level you blanket.
O please do not delete my sun.
posted by straight at 7:58 AM on March 16, 2001

Take me you fool >>>>>>> To catch it stupid you.

No wonder international relations are so tortured.
posted by Twang at 8:42 AM on March 16, 2001

I always knew that the Beatles were transmitting secret MI-5 messages in their lyrics:
Baby you can drive my car >>>>>> You can align in the action rifle automatic of the mine of the boy
posted by Twang at 8:53 AM on March 16, 2001

LOL! Lookee at what I did:

Original English Text:
He's a complicated man, and no one understands him but his woman. Shaft!

Final translation:
He is a difficult man and nobody includes/understands he nevertheless
relative he moglie. Of the ways of!

posted by Spirit_VW at 8:46 PM on March 16, 2001

Another, very simple sentence (taken from the Simpson's Talking Al Gore Doll)

You are hearing me talk.

Final translation:
They are maintenance of hearing I.

posted by Spirit_VW at 8:50 PM on March 16, 2001

Thanks Potsy! Along the same lines, I have found God. And
he pities the fool
that tries to take base that don't belong to him!
posted by aaron at 10:04 PM on March 16, 2001

One more...

I entered in the entire Zero Wing intro, from "In AD 2101" to "for great justice," ran it through the multibabel, took those results and ran THEM through it, etc. etc. a few times, and got this. It just goes to show you that this can become very...surreal.

In SICHTBARMACHUNG 2101 of the PUBLICITY, the war, that began. This
thing happens? Somebody installed collapse. We received the light!
Which! Sichtbarmachung de Cr__am for the main extremity with the fire
with majority! It is with her! Poich2e is that you belong sigg..
Eastern we more in the possible surface under whole number. They are
in startings of __ with the destruction. Which you say! The form of
the shin guard of the extremity not probably to give, regulation, the
end to around survive stampini of affinch2e, that gives the way to the
form to the relative time. Hectar with hectar with hectar the value
of the defect of each Hectars ' KABELT '! They know, this this they,
with those, those that they give to the form. Muoversi if for ' the
CABLE ' for the great justice.

posted by Spirit_VW at 10:18 PM on March 16, 2001

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