Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lost in Translation

My Statcounter tells me that I have a reader in Rio de Janeiro. He/she is reading with an online translator. The Statcounter sends me to the translated page, which is pretty cool. So I have three questions:

1. I'm keen to know who you are, my Brazilian friend. Can you email me jmoff / hotmail?
2. Anyone else had readers in far places? Care to share your story?
3. I wonder: Can you learn a language by reading your Blog in with an online translator?


Friendly Reader in Switzerland! said...

I'm your friendly reader living in Switzerland! I stumbled upon your blog via other bloggers associated with the Sydney Anglican church, where I grew up. We emailed some time last year.

Megan said...

To the question about learning language: it's unlikely, if not impossible. Machine translators don't pick up the nuances and the idiosyncracies of the original language very well, if at all. They tend to treat language as a one-to-one correspondence in meaning, as a opposed to a many-to-many correspondence, and thus do not do the original justice and also do not turn it into very natural language in the target language. A favorite practice of linguists to illustrate this is to plug a couple of lines of text into an online translator, and then plug the translation back in, and compare the retranslation with the original. This isn't to say that machine translations are absolutely no good, but that you're more likely to get a mechanical translation, and one that is wooden and lacking than an alive an natural one. It's fine for a broad, semantic generalization, but not good for a learning/teaching tool.

Anonymous said...

The translations are also often good for a laugh.
Signed your friendly reader in Germany

Martin Kemp said...

There's a chinese driving school operating here in Sydney whose name in chinese is meant to translate "1-2-3 driving school". Of course their cars all have english signs saying "Run to free driving school"

Erin King said...

hey justin
maybe it's time to stop lurking...I'm Erin from a 1996 arts small group at sydney uni...working and living in London and have been for the last three years. i'll email you...

Suds said...

Let's test this thing out!

Starting with the English

- Hi, my name is Suds. Moffatt likes to blog all the way from New York City. Keep up the good work mate! Just Checking the translator.

Into the German

- Hallo, ist mein Name Seifenlösungen. Moffatt mag zum blog vollständig von New York City. Mach weiter so der Gehilfe! Den Übersetzer gerade überprüfen.

Now from German to French
- Le Hallo, est mon nom solutions de savon. Le Moffatt veut une ville blog complètement de New York. Mach plus loin ainsi le collaborateur ! Le traducteur réexaminer justement.

French to Greek - Το Hallo, είναι το όνομά μου λύσεις του σαπουνιού. Το Moffatt θέλει μια πόλη blog εντελώς της Νέας Υόρκης. Mach πιό μακρινός έτσι ο συνεργάτης ! Ο μεταφραστής να επανεξετάστε ακριβώς.

Greek back to English

- The Hallo, is my name solutions of soap. The Moffatt wants a city of blog completely New York. Mach the more distant thus collaborator! The translator you re-examine precisely.