Fun with Google Translate

 

FUN WITH GOOGLE TRANSLATE

Google Translate is actually pretty handy as an informal tool.

There have been times where I have wanted to have at least a partial understanding of something that I read in another language online, and Google Translate has helped me with that.

I’m also a little rusty with French, and Google Translate has helped to fill in some of my gaps.

But if you wrote something and wanted to have a professional translation of your writing into another language, well, as you will see in this article, that could result in some interesting consequences.

TRANSLATION EXPERIMENT

What I will do is type a variety of expressions in English.

I will copy and paste these expressions into Google Translate, and have them translated into a different language.

Then I will have them translated back into English.

(Isn’t this what everybody does when they feel like having some fun?)

LET’S START WITH SOMETHING EASY

We will start with a simple opinion in English. (As a person’s opinion, it is informal, not proper grammar.)

I strongly prefer slacks over blue jeans on the golf course.

I copied and pasted the above text into Google Translate.

https://translate.google.com/

I had the text translated from English to Chinese (traditional).

我非常喜歡高爾夫球場上的藍色牛仔褲。

Next I copied the Chinese text, deleted the original English text, and pasted the Chinese text into Google Translate.

I really like the blue jeans on the golf course.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the opposite of the original statement.

Let’s see if we can find some good sentences to translate.

SO CLICHÉ

Input. (Imagine a far too clichéd romance novel.)

Meet Chloe, a blond bombshell dressed to the nines.

Translated to Russian.

Познакомьтесь с Хлоей, белокурой бомбой, одетой в пух и прах.

Back to English.

Meet Chloe, a blonde bomb dressed in lint and dust.

(Hey, maybe the novel would be better this way…)

POETRY, ANYONE?

Input. (The awful, Vogon variety.) I put all of this into a single line of text (with spaces in place of the line breaks).

How did I get into this bad romance

He is so handsome but too psycho

How much I wish I could turn back time

And not ride on his motorcycle

Translated to Hindi.

मैं इस बुरे रोमांस में कैसे आया वह इतना सुंदर है, लेकिन बहुत ही मनोहर है कि मैं चाहता हूं कि मैं अपनी मोटरसाइकिल पर वापस समय बदल सकता हूं और नहीं

Back to English.

How did I come to this bad romance

is so beautiful, but very handsome

that I want to change my time

on my motorcycle and not

(It started out so well, too.)

You could imagine that song lyrics are even better.

SIMPLE SHOULD BE BETTER, RIGHT?

Input. Imagine that we’re making a very simple children’s book for beginning readers.

See Jeff. See Amazon. See Jeff run Amazon.

Translated to Latin.

Jeff videre. Vide Amazon. Jeff videre current Amazon.

Back to English.

Jeff further. Know Amazon. Jeff further current Amazon.

It’s interesting what a difference the middleman makes. When I tried using Japanese, it came out almost perfectly.

I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST

I bought a bicycle for my daughter on Amazon last year.

It was difficult to find the right color in the right price range.

When I finally did, there were several 5-star reviews with names that seemed indicative of a certain language (I won’t say which).

But there were a few 1-star reviews claiming that the instructions were virtually impossible to read.

Well, I have a Ph.D. in physics, so I figured I could assemble a bicycle myself.

My family had a blast reading the instruction manual. I’ve never read anything so funny!

It’s like someone typed the instructions in another language (still not saying!) and used Google Translate to turn them into English.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that’s what actually happened.

Let me share a few goodies from these instructions. I took care to copy all of the typos correctly, including the punctuation issues.

  • By now, there should not any touching between bicycle and your body.
  • The leg–length of a rider should be at least 2.54cm.
  • As photo shows,put the stem into head tube,adjust proper depth,before tighten stem binder bolt(not less than 18N.m)adjust handlebar perpendicular to forward direction,then tighten four bolts on aluminum cap orderly
  • If adjust slightly loose the adjusting nut and bolt, then lock nut. If adjust largely, loose nut ( as pic ), the loose or fasten brake line, then fasten nut.
  • BBzxle adjustment: loosethe left lock nut of BB axle adjust the space between “stationary cone” and “bearing and retainer” to the smallest,the tighten the nut
  • Do not use this bicycle as a transport facilities.

I kid you not. (I wish I were.)

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

8 comments on “Fun with Google Translate

  1. When I comment on a blog in a different language I use Google Translate. I always double check, translating back, to make sure it comes across the same. If it doesn’t, I change the sentence until it makes sense both ways. I’ve also seen some pretty creative translations. 😀

  2. Pingback: Fun with Google Translate – Written By Chris McMullen – Writer's Treasure Chest

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