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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Google Translate Fail

Original text would translate to "I also love Mexican food" or more literally "I also love Mexican cooking." Her weird use of a comma is probably what threw the translator off. Either way, the word "cooking" was completely dropped which in turned threw off the nationality of my friend here.

I'm submitting this as an assignment in the web category to ds106.

I guess I'm just trying to raise awareness of how bad these automatic translators are. In the office where I work, there were these sort of "slogan" posters that all had English "translations" under them. They were completely senseless and I could tell in an instant that they were Google Translate. The one that set it off said "Reservation is to be blamed." I asked my boss what it was to be blamed for and he had no idea. What ended up happening was that because I opened my big mouth that I got all of the original posters and had to make sensible translations for them.

"Reservation is to be blamed" now says "Don't hold back!"

The main reason I want to create awareness is because people actually trust this crap. Anyone who has been to...well...pretty much anywhere in Asia has seen the English language take some serious abuse (though, given the abuse English has given all other languages on the planet it only seems fair). I think that pictures of "Engrish" may very well be one of the original internet memes. Sometimes its good for a giggle, but I feel sorry for the people who used an internet translator program and got something senseless without knowing.

Triple Troll Attack

There are some common threads between the three characters (afterall, its the links between them that make a good triple troll to me). All three are from Shonen Jump. All three are excruciatingly long, yet entertaining series. All three pretty much have the same fan base as well. If you like one of them, you'll probably enjoy them all. Probably. It was actually a tough call for me to make the quote attributed to either Luffy or Kurosaki Ichigo.

I guess if you're not into anime, you might not get it. The character is Goku from Dragon Ball. The quote is Naruto from...Naruto. Finally, the quote is attributed to the main character of One Piece. The aforementioned Kurosaki Ichigo is from Bleach.

The idea came to me because the series are all so similar in so many ways. They just fit together perfectly.

Making the troll was easy. I found a picture of Goku on Google Images and was lucky enough to find one with a white background. I opened it in MS Paint and widened the image. This is why the background being white was a lucky break. Then, using the text feature, I wrote on it. I used orange for the quote because its the color Naruto wears. Likewise, I used red for Luffy's name since he wears a red shirt.

Lazy Man's Haiku

Original Photo Before Haiku: LAZY DOG by paddynapper through CC Licensing


English translation:
Haiku Written by a Lazy Person

The haiku actually came to me a few days before this assignment was posted to DS106. I have a really long train ride to school/work. Sometimes, when I'm on that long sleepy train ride, I get these silly ideas. I was thinking about how haiku are a little more easy in Japanese since the language is built around speaking in clearly defined syllables (as in one character in katakana or hiragana will always be one syllable). 

I thought about how easy it could be because the basic Japanese alphabets are effectively made of lines of five syllable combinations. That would net me 15 out of the necessary 17 syllables, but what could I choose for the remaining two? That answer was solved pretty quickly because the "w" line only has "wa" and "wo." Once upon a time, there were "wi, wu, we" syllables, but they are as long gone as "yi" and "ye." Actually, Yebisu Beer still uses the "ye" syllable on their logo, but people pronounce it as just "Ebisu." Also, the "Yen" as we know it is pronounced "En" for probably this same reason. Its like how "going to" became "gunna" and "catsup" became "ketchup." Actually, spell check thinks that "catsup" is wrong but accepts "ketchup." Irony. 

In the original draft of the haiku, I used the "t" line instead of the "s" line. I never actually learned the alphabet in order (because there actually isn't any need to since its completely phonetic). The original format is the one that's still the desktop to my computer at work. My co-workers have gotten a good laugh at it. Some say there is beauty in simplicity.

I also came up with the English version on the same train ride. The truth is, any time you say or write something in Japanese, Japanese people ask you how you say it in English. I had to come up with something clever to say. It works out since "W" is the only letter in the English alphabet that is more than one syllable in length. 

Admit it, you just ran through the whole alphabet in your head and checked. No worries, I did right before I typed this out.

The original assignment does say to use a dailyshoot picture, but I used a flickr CC License search for the word "lazy" instead. I stand by my decision. The words were simple just typed over top of the picture using MS Paint. 

It turns out that Japanese people are surprised that we know what a haiku is. They really are great tools for learning pronunciation and syllables in general. That's why we learned them in elementary school. They're also great tools for creative thinking. Its a tough fight to be able to say something meaningful within such a confined and structured space (its far worse than twitter).