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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Something Lost (or found) In The Translation

Have you ever heard of Babelfish?

It is an on-line translation service. Well I use the term loosely because it is hardly an accurate means of communicating to our friends with limited English abilities.

Our family has a dear French lady friend and we communicate with her regularly. Trouble is both Mrs Bluelights and I are rather rusty at French. So we resort to using babelfish and risk sometimes sending rather inaccurate dialogue.

Last Christmas we sent our friend a French translation of our latest news and of course as normal practice we called on the services of Babelfish.

I entered our English letter and requested translation into French and then I had an idea of asking it to translate back into English . . . . . and the result was a hoot!

Here is part of the letter we sent in original English:

Thank you very much for your recent letter and the Christmas photographs.
We are pleased that you are looking so well and we notice your son has not changed very much. What a handsome young man he is isn’t he?

Before Christmas we were invited by our daughter to attend a production of her pupils performing the school’s annual Nativity play. Our daughter and her colleague teacher were congratulated in front of the whole assembly by the Head Teacher for a very professional performance and all the hard work they had put into it. About 200 parents attended the performance which was really most enjoyable.

The weather has been very harsh this year with all the snow, ice and freezing temperatures. The roads have been very treacherous and the main motorways have been at a standstill. Many schools were closed, including our children’s schools and everywhere you looked there was an army of snowmen on patrol!

Our son and 9 other friends rolled a huge snowball almost 2 metres high and it was so heavy they could not push it any further. All the snow and winter scenery look very nice and we have taken lots of photographs.

. . . . and here is the English translation back from the French translation. Glad our lives don't depend on the accuracy of translation:

Thank you infinitely of your recent letter and the photographs of Christmas. We are happy that you look at so much well and we note that your son did not change much. Which young man beautiful it is, is not it?

Before Christmas were invited to us by our daughter to witness a production of his pupils carrying out the annual nativity of the school play. Our daughter and her professor of colleague were happiness in front of the whole assembly by the main teacher for a very professional execution and all the hard labour they had put in it. Approximately 200 parents attended the execution which was really most pleasant.

Time was very hard this year with all snow, freezes and temperatures of congelation. The roads were very unfair and the principal motorways were with a stop. Much of schools were closed, including the schools of our children and you looked at everywhere there was an army of the fellows of snow on the patrol.

Our son and 9 other friends rolled an enormous snowball almost 2 meters in height and it was so heavy they could not push it to promote. All landscape of snow and d' winter look at very nice and we took a good number of photographs.
I'll be posting some more news about my post hospital situation soon but allowing for another setback things are progressing well and I am sure I won't need my remaining stick for long.
Looking at some of your comments it appears that Google translate is much more accurate, at least into and out of French - thank you! But it's nowhere near as funny.


  1. lovely to hear from you again and to hear your sense of humour hasn't failed you!!

    thinking of you..
    Saz x

  2. *snicker*

    Hope you're feeling better Eddie..we sure miss you in Bloggie World!


  3. lol...i always think of hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy when i hear babelfish...

  4. We definitely don't want you to have any setbacks!!!! Love the translation. It is funny!!

  5. It really is all about perception, don't you think. Sometimes I will be explaining things and I get a look from the other party that makes me think there is a babelfish translation between my mouth and their ears!

  6. Good old Babelfish! So funny, cher! I am so glad to hear that things are progressing well and that soon, you will be able to ditch that walking stick! Hang in there, mon ami! Hugs and prayers, Marguerite

  7. I recently spent a lot of time translating all the Russian spam I've been getting using Google Translate. Hilarious stuff! Still hate them, though.

    P.S. -- Sometimes I think I could use an English to English translator. There are some bad writers out there.

  8. Yes. I've received one or two blog messages that I suspect were translated that way (into Swedish).

    The most annoying thing though is that translation of manuals to all sorts of appliances usually seem to be done by similar methods. ("Connect the what to the what" ?!??)

  9. The bit about the "execution" is utterly priceless. I also love how Babelfish invents new words like "congelation".

  10. LOL!
    Eddie, you're a hoot, how did you think of doing that?

  11. I particularly enjoyed the bit about your daughter's professional execution!!!!!!
    A hoot indeed!
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  12. Oh, did I miss this!!! I've obviously been TOO busy!!! This is hilarious!!! Hugs, Janine

  13. This brings back old, fun memories. A three year relationship I had started out like this. For fun, because I'm from Quebec and he was American, I sent him a letter which was translated into French. He replied to the English translation with humour and by the end of the hilarity, we were both smitten. That was a long time ago. Thanks for the memories. Fun stuff, Eddie. :)


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