Lost in Translation

Computer based language translation has been out of quite a few years now. I often use when I run across a web page that I need to translate. Most times is does a good enough job to get the idea across. But what happens if you translate a phrase from English, to something else and then back to English. What you get is like the old telephone game.

Well, Carl Tashian did that at his site called, Lost in Translation. In fact they do a total of 10 translations. So I decided to give it a shot with a well known piece of text.

Here is what I started with:

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

And here is the Lost in Translation version:

If, when the human of the examples, he transforms into that people to politicians to repair the obligation, those, to others and under energies of the track, to those the end estimate the different one and equal they place the end to decide and the natural laws of the nature of the God have he right it, they who have the necessity of an acceptable respect in the opinions of the humanity which they would have that to explain the causes, to that exert pressure on a they with starting off.

Here is a second Lost in Translation version this time including Japanese and Chinese in the translation process:

Necessarily, the one that went away worries for the unit for the policy for the solution for the acceptance between the same resistance and the track of the obstruction, between that the person of the activity, 1 team of employees to another section and, next, of that one the normal law and the God distinguishes of the characters for these stations of the work analyze, if the remarkable people of the modifications, that one the end, that is U.S.ABLE with est human of the test of the verification, they have that to indicate, in the order these relations of transformation to suggest to separate.

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1 Comment

  1. There’s a Philip K. Dick novel where everyone plays a game, trying to guess the original aphorism that’s been put through a similar process. I can’t remember which one, but if you do some snooping around, you might find it. I’m thinking it might be The Galactic Pot-Healer, but don’t take it as gospel.

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