Tuesday, June 11, 2019

My Hovercraft is Full of Eels

(They're inside the vehicles...)
Which is, of course, in Hungarian: "a légpárnásom tele van angolnákkal," according to Google Translate. We'll get to the punchline shortly, please bear with me.

Google Translate is good at certain things, a ballpark translation of something in English to something in, let's say Serbo-Croatian, is a handy tool to have in one's pocket. Especially while vacationing in the Balkans, well, parts of the Balkans. Incidentally the eel-laden hovercraft would be rendered thusly in Serbian: "мој ваздушни чамац је пун јегуља," and in Croatian "Moj lebdeći brod je pun jegulja.". For the record - Serbo-Croatian; also called Serbo-Croat, Serbo-Croat-Bosnian, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, or Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian is a South Slavic language and the primary language of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. It is a pluricentric language with four mutually intelligible standard varieties. Say that three times fast... (Serbian uses the Cyrillic alphabet whereas Croatian uses the Latin alphabet, same phrase, different letters. Trust me I saw it on the Internet.)

Anyhoo, I was reading somebody's blog today (yes, I wish I had written it down) and they mentioned the hovercraft thing, which is an old Monty Python bit (no fair skipping down to watch the video) which had me giggling most of the day. Yes, I did get a few odd looks at work but I get those anyway. Might as well give them an excuse to point and play mock the geezer.

My point being, if I have a point, is that translation tools will often produce spurious results, to wit, an early translation tool rendered "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" into Russian as "Водка хорошая, но мясо испорчено," which translates back into English as "The vodka is good but the meat is spoiled." I heard this story a long time ago, so it could be apocryphal, but it sounds plausible. (Google Translate gives us "Дух желает, но плоть слаба" in Russian, which translates back to English as, "The spirit desires but the flesh is weak." Which is, as they say, close enough for government work.)

So use Google Translate with a bit o'caution, it sometimes garbles things. DAMHIK



Yup, I got nothing...



30 comments:

  1. Dental work yesterday and poor sleep last night.
    I was one of the dwarves whose name starts with a G, but now that I've read your post my attitude is greatly improved.
    Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Gimpy?

      Yes, in my world, the 7 dwarves are a tad more twisted...

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    2. Beans - I'm guessing that your world has a number of features different from the regular world.

      Why do you think we invited you in?

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    3. My world is more of the old-school fairy tales before they got all cleaned up. And much darker. My favorite Snow White story is the one where she has a sister, Rose Red, who is given the gift of gems coming out of her mouth when she speaks. The two cousin girls, very bad, complain and pick on Snowy and Rosey, and they get the gift of toads and snakes coming out of their mouths whenever they open them.

      In the original "Little Mermaid," the fishlady dies because the prince marries the noble lady one town over. The story is all about no matter how you dress or act, your social class will hold you back.

      Things like that. "East of the Sun and West of the Moon," a good Norwegian/Finnish fairy tale, in the original (or as far back as I could find a translation) is far far far darker than even the early translations of "Beauty and the Beast," which in itself is a pretty dark story.

      Good fairy tales are supposed to end up like.. "And the little boy and girl got tossed into the oven and served up for supper to the witch, because that's what happens to bad boys and girls who don't listen to their parents and cross the local lord." ("Hansel and Gretel" in the original old old story is darker than even that. Yikes!)

      On the other hand, the 'creation story' for St. George the Dragonslayer has him being a stuck up, libertine shower-nozzle (insert French word for shower..) who finally finds out who he really is (not a nice person at all,) conquers his inner demons and then chases Satan in the form of a dragon away. So why hasn't anyone made that story into a movie?

      I like Disney. But their interpretations of most fairy tales is kinda like Dragnet. The names and places are the same, but the story has been changed to protect the innocent. (Dum du-duh dum, Dum du-duh-duh-DUHHHHH...)

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    4. The old stories tend to be dark, lessons to be learned for dark times. Everything in this day and age is rather sanitized for we in the West. We should remember that there really are monsters out there. Waiting...

      Disney much beloved in my youth. Now? They have issues.

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  2. Decades ago when I was a new engineer starting at Three Letter Intelligence Agency they told about a 1970s experiment they did in machine translation. English - Russian - English, "Out of sight, out of mind" turned into "Invisible insanity". Again. probably apocryphal but that's what they told us.

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    Replies
    1. Well there are relationships I've seen where "invisible insanity" describes things very nicely.

      'Tis a good story nevertheless.

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  3. Once again your "I got nothing" has more meat (or eels, in this case) than most other blogs. Good on ya.

    I have noticed, when trying to translate into other languages, that Gargle-halftranslate isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Especially Korean. Or Japanese. Or Chinese. Or Latin. Or Russian. Or (insert language here.)

    A dedicated translator service usually does about a 50% better job. In the case of Latin, definitely go with one of the dedicated translators. I have a feeling that Garble-nottranlsate is responsible for lots of failed Latin tests.

    Oh, well. Damnant quod non intelligunt. Or something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha!

      Hovercraft meum plenum est anguillarum.
      ;)

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    2. There are eels in your plenum chamber of your hovercraft?

      There's a David Drake story, based on old school sci-fi, where we terraform and colonize Venus. Turns it into a waterworld, with high UV radiation so mutations of basic things proceeds quickly, and the terraformed animals, mostly fish and crustaceans and other non-mammalian lifeforms, kinda grow monstrous. People live in domes under the major life-zone of the water, and fight on the surface using WWII type surface combatants (except for no planes and carriers, carriers carry smaller boats, hydrofoils or hovercraft that act like PT boats or gunboats.) One story is, yes, a giant eel is hiding in the plenum chamber of a torpedo armed hovercraft, stranded on a sandbar...

      "Seas of Venus" is a combo book, consisting of both "The Jungle" and "Surface Action." Good stories.

      David Drake definitely writes dark military sci-fi.

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    3. I am going to have to read that!

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    4. David Drake has good reason to write dark stories of any kind. He is one of my favorite writers, so I don't know how I missed these two books. I shall rectify that situation forthwith.

      Paul

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    5. I need to read up on this chap.

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  4. As is about par, Andrew wrote what I was going to in his first line ( more or less ). Just call me ' Little Sir Echo ', or LSE for short.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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    Replies
    1. Ogf the LSE. I'm guessing you'll want that on the Acronym Page?

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    2. Not unless you think it is necessary.

      Paul

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    3. It's in there. But I noticed Ogf is not, will mend that today!

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    4. Two entries on the Acronym Page, I think you do me too much honor. Not that I don't like it, just that it seems a bit excessive to me.

      Paul

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  5. You're making a great case for esperanto.

    Vi faras bonegan kazon por esperanto

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    Replies
    1. There's a bonobo wanting expresso?

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    2. Dave - Not sure we want to try that again. Might be okay if no tower building is involved.

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    3. Beans - Six far-sighted bonobos with kazoos want espresso. I think.

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  6. Almost thought this was going to be a "The Chair Is Against The Wall", or "John Has A Long Mustache" post. Such things I've heard whilst prowling the various Short Wave Bands.

    Just remember: The Purple Fish Swims At Midnight.....

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha!

      The long sobs of the violins of autumn.

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    2. This could go on for quite a while.....

      The Western Tree Has Leaves.....

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    3. Dogs barking, can't fly without an umbrella.

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  7. The Woods Are Lovely, Dark, And Deep!

    Beans? BEANS! Where are you going with that dynamite....BEANS!

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)