Thursday, February 08, 2007

BABEL IS CRAZY. But we know that already, right?

Here's my find this afternoon in some idleness. Keyed in the following text in English into Babel Fish asking for a French translation:

"What is worth doing at all is worth doing well"

I get the following translation back, which I suspect might be correct in French:

"Ce qui vaut la peine de faire du tout vaut la peine de faire bien".

Now, I translate that back into English, using the same software, I get the following:

"What is worth the sorrow to make whole is worth the sorrow to make well."

***

Curious, I tried for German.

English to German: Was wertIST, an allen zu tun,IST wert, gut zu tun

German back to English: "Which is to do at all is worth, to do well"

***
In all cases, the meanings had changed by the time it got back to the original language.

Last try. ENGLISH to FRENCH to GERMAN, then to ENGLISH

ENGLISH TO FRENCH ="Ce qui vaut la peine de faire du tout vaut la peine de faire bien".

FRENCH - GERMAN = Was das Leiden wert ist, vom Ganzen zu machen, ist das Leiden wert, gut zu machen

GERMAN - ENGLISH= "Which suffering is worth to make from the whole one to suffering is worth to make good"

Wits and Wisdom of the Computer!

Now, ASSIGNMENT. I hereby tag all of you who read this blog to make your own experiments, and make your findings known. Pick a short quote, and run it through languages, then let's see what you get in the end. Remember that childhood game we play in circles, when we pass a little phrase round a circle in whispers until it reaches the person that started it, most times in a mangled, humorous form? This looks like it. We can call it Stille Post E-nternational.

Thanks Somegirl, Chinese Whispers, was the English expression I was looking for.

6 comments:

somegirl said...

You need to spell "silent" with two "l"! Then it'll look as following: "Still". Now add "mail" to it and pay attention to agreements, so that you'll get "stille Post" (silent mail) in German. If you wish to say the same in English, try "Chinese whisper"! ;-)

mack said...

I'm no linguist. Wish I was tho'...

iGwatala said...

@ Mack.

No need to be a linguist. I tag you anyway. Let's see how the translator reads your poem. Your Shakespearan language is problematic enough though. The result is gonna be amazing. Try it.

Nilla said...

Why is your blog always going into selected readers mode?
I couldn't view it for the past 2 days I think.

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

lmao.. i remember that... it never came back the same.. i'm gonna try it!

NakedSha said...

Oh, sounds amusing...will go ahead and play