04/23/2005: Do it yourself Engrish....
Quite a few of us (including at least one of my co-bloggers) are fans of Engrish, the website which entertains us with examples of English translations from Asian languages (mostly Japanese) gone slightly awry. But how many of us have noted that the site provides some instructions for "do it yourself Engrish"? They recommend that you install Japanese language support for your web browser (an easy way to do this if you don't already have it installed (at least this worked for me) is to fire up Internet Explorer, and visit a Japanese website (i.e., one which uses the Japanese language exclusively); Internet Explorer will then detect the use of Japanese fonts on the webpage and ask you if you want to install Japanese language support. Click "yes", then insert your Windows installation CD if prompted; some of the components will be downloaded from the 'net, however). The good news is though, that if you don't want to install Japanese language support the basic idea works with other languages, but I assume purists will insist that your results won't be "Engrish" unless Japanese is worked into it at some point.
Once you've installed Japanese language support, then it's a simple matter. Go to Babelfish, type (or copy) any reasonably coherent English passage into the text box provided, then translate the passage into Japanese (or any other language you want). Once you've got your translation, copy it back into the "Translate again" textbox, and translate it from Japanese (or whatever your target language was) back into English.
As an example, here's today's "Thought for the Day" rendered into Babelfish's "Engrish":
Until it becomes older, many raw materials of the school are not recognized. The small thing like the thing which is every day when it is struck with the open hand by the woman raw materials which center ages between life being slower pays the your good money. -- Emo PhilipsBelow the fold, are some comparative translations of the Thought for the Day filtered through various other languages....
You do not appreciate much substance at the school until you age. Small things, as to be given a smacking to each day by an average old woman-substance you pay the good money in the posterior life.German:
They do not estimate a quantity material in the school, until you become older. Small things, like each day by a middle aged woman material to be flogged to pay it good money for into newer life.Dutch:
You do not appreciate a lot material in school to you parent become. The small things, as are beaten each day by a middle old woman material you pay well money in more recent living.Italian:
Not appreciated roba the a lot to school until that you do not obtain older. The small things, like being sculacciato every day from a Evo Mean woman-roba that paid the good moneies in the later life.Interesting that Babelfish would incorporate words in its Italian translation that it cannot recognize when it's trying to render the translation back into English... Anyway, for the grand finale, we take the TftD, translate it into French, from French to German, and from German to English, and we get:
They do not estimate much substance in the school, until you age. Small things like fessée on each day by an average old woman substance to be given to pay it the good money in the later lifeI know, I know.... you're probably right, and I should have gone to the bar near the hotel and tried to get laid....
Len on 04.23.05 @ 07:49 PM CST