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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fun with Babel Fish

Some Israeli journalists recently used AltaVista's Babel Fish Translator, to ask a high-ranking Dutch politician some questions pertaining to their upcoming visit to the Netherlands. However, Babel Fish slightly mangled their Hebrew to Dutch translation, and they ended up asking the official some highly personal questions about his mother's sleeping arrangements. Apparently, it has triggered off something of a diplomatic incident.

As regular readers will know, I have a penchant for the bizarre and whacky. So I decided to run the opening couple of paragraphs of my Nano novel through it. I first of all translated it from English to Korean, and then back from Korean to English. Here's the original excerpt:

The scream pierced the crisp, night air. Part human, part animal, yet somehow neither, it chilled all who heard it. Carrie Knowles felt a growing sense of unease each time she heard the unearthly shrieks. Sometimes in the distance, other times closer to the house, the screamer never stayed in one place, its wails emanating from all corners of the compass. She peered through the kitchen window, along the large, semi-wild garden. The blue-hued solar lighting showed nothing except the usual forms and shadows. Nothing unfamiliar lurked within her vista.

Carrie gave a sudden start, slopping some of the coffee from the mug she held, as the back door burst open.
'Mum, Winnie the witch is here again', yelled her fifteen year old son, Caleb, as he sped in, a bicycle wheel in his hand.

Here's what Babel Fish did to it:

The cry of distress green onion Sag green onion Sag, penetrated a night air. The portion human being and the portion animal, which piece which about under sprouts but knows, listened to it and all by it it was cool off. When she listens to a supernature cry of distress every, the CarrieKnowles will wind and growth of insecurity it felt. From time to time inside distance, in the house near different hour, the scr U code word r did not stay assuredly inside it tube music which flows out from 1 place and all corners of the compass. She was big, anti- the kitchen window it led consequently in the regular staff which is wild, equal. The green onion Rah hue solar ignition hun excepted one shape and the shadow and anything it was not visible.Inside anything her viewing it was unfamiliar lurks.

The Carrie her the kacikoiss from the teacup the what kind of slopping of the coffee the start which is sudden, the lingering rumors explosion period which is being opened in because. ' His hand inside the bicycle wheel the broad way mummy where he puts out a speed in inside, Winnie witch here ', as her 15 flesh sons hit, Caleb shout again, there is.

Can anyone please tell me what green onion Sag (twice, if you please!) and green onion Rah might be? And kacikoisse? What's that, when it's at home?


Anonymous said...

You may have discovered the new poetry form. It makes you wonder about Korean...
Babel aint in it.

Siani said...

I had similar bizarre results with German, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese. The most accurate translation was from English to Russian and back to English again.