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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.


  1. Labels are a bit preemptive since it hasn't been given an assignment number (or approved at all for that matter) but I hope it is accepted and that people will also do the same thing.

  2. GoogleTranslate works SOOOOOOOOOOOOO poorly when it comes to making translations between Japanese and English ... AND THAT'S WHY I HATE IT.
    But except for when I'm translating a textbook-written-like sentence ... that way, it sometimes works me for inspiring myself in a way, coz if I was able to see a textbook-like kinda translation I'll be able to go further than that, consciously.

    ALSO, this site is good when we wanna translate only single word.
    Coz it's difficult to get a foreign-language dictionary for free, GoogleTranslate could be useful in that respect.
    Recently, since I'm into Hetalia I started to use this website for translating various languages into either Japanese/English, that I'll be able to understand simple meanings of some of them. :)

  3. Yes, Mr. Dangerfist, I would consider this as a ds106 type assignment. Have you written it up and submitted it on the ds106 assignment submission page.

    It seems to me that there could be one additional angle to it but I'm not sure what. I know some people have translated things from one language to another and back to the original language to discover an entirely different message. Perhaps that could be the starting point for something else.

  4. @Rimi, I use the following sites for one word at a time translations:

    Jim Breen's WWWJDic

    I've been using Jim Breen's site for probably over ten years now. Its what I use at work. was actually listed in our Japanese textbook.

    @Professor Yes, and its been accepted as WebAssignments209.

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