translationAs a monolingual monster I’ve used Google Translate to get first cut translations for applications.  Put these translations into the front facing application and someone with actual language skills would fix them.  Sometimes the  Google Translate  would be right, but other times I tripped over nuance and context.

The program would display English or Spanish depending on what the user selected.  Taking the translation and translating it back to English was one way to check the translation.

For example translating the phrase “Ever your faithful bookworm” to Japanese produced several translations.

The first あなたの忠実なブックウォームを I had Google translate back to English and got “Your faithful book warm”.  There must be a typo somewhere that conflated warm and worm.  At some point this may be corrected.

Babelfish(maybe named after a translation fish introduced in Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) translates Google’s original Japanese translation  あなたの忠実なブックウォームを to “To your loyal bookworm”.

This seems close,  loyal and faithful are synonyms.  There must be a nuance because there are customer loyalty programs and not customer faithfulness programs.  Faithfully duplicating  seems to imply accurately duplicating, but loyally duplicating doesn’t seem to be used often or any.

The second 今までに、忠実な本の虫。 from Goggle translates back to “Until now, faithful book insects“.  The English seems a bit stilted, although it captures all of the elements of the original English, sort of.

Babelfish translates 今までに、忠実な本の虫。 to “Ever the loyal bookworm”.  Again loyal substituted for  faithful, but lost the your.

Now Babelfish translates “Ever the loyal bookworm” to これまで忠実な本の虫。 and translates it back to the English  as “Bookworm ever faithful”.

All of this may be different if attempting to replicate this in the future, because both Google Translate and Babelfish are ever-changing as they improve and correct things.  Then again, there is so much cutting and pasting and juggling different windows, I may have screwed something up.  So many possible sources of error.

The person fixing the translations said that she was correcting for subtle differences in context and meaning.

Sometimes it seems everyone speaks their own language.

Oh well.  Bye for now or またね。 or じゃあね。