Monday, 3 June 2013

Glossed In Translation - Friday Flash

The below is an experiment. I took the English paragraph I wrote, put it through Google translate in 6 different languages, copied and pasted the results back into Google translate and thence back into English. The original text inevitably undergoes some mutations in this process. Partly through the vagaries of Google translate itself, as presumably it's a translation programme that works by algorithm and word recognition, so that it will miss nuance and multi-shaded meaning words. While grammar always chops up and reconstitutes word orders. But the piece is also dealing with the metaphorical differences between diverse languages and cultures. Again nuances can wildly diverge between two differing languages. The text I wrote was about an unspecified liberation/terrorist organisation's demands around a captured hostage, denouncing an unspecified occupying/interventionist army in its land. The differences between the texts once put through the translator, hopefully represents a sort of "lost in translation", whether mechanical in source, or metaphorical. Two sides in conflict can rarely understand one another's language because of their wildly differing perspectives. 
Of course, Google Translate's claim to cover the world's language needs instantaneously is also a form of colonialism - as said, it gets things badly wrong in its translations, but also there are many language it overlooks and effectively marginalises by not offering them as part of its functionality. As a side note, MS Word did not allow me to reproduce the Khmer and Tamil scripts for their own language. Blogger wouldn't let me cut and paste the Khmer. Again that arbitrary cut off in action.
 


                                         


Communiqué: We parade this man before the eyes of the world. Your cowardly unmanned drones and bombs from 5 miles up may chop off one of our heads, but two more instantly spring up from the bloodied stump to replace it. You cannot defeat us. You call us a pit of vipers, but you do not possess the anti-venom to counteract us. Yet when we in turn come to behead this man, your populace lose their will to prosecute the fight. Their morale is sapped. Do not complain, what is the so called collateral damage of one man, compared to the computer guided many deaths and maimings you wreak on our innocents? You colonialists reap what you sow. No new head will sprout from his neck. No new head will grow from your decapitated empire. But this is our soil and we thrive and bloom in it, where you wither and perish. Consider the execution of this man as reparations. The truth and reconciliation committee, without the reconciliation. The first downpayment in blood on what we are owed for the rape of our land and people.



Српско-хрватски Communication: We parade the man before the world. Your cowardly unmanned drones and bombs than 5 miles can be cut off one of our heads, and the two immediately spring up from the bloody stump to replace it. They can not win. You call us the pit vipers, but do not have the anti-venom, that we oppose. However, when we came back to cut this man, your people lose their will to prosecute the fight. Their morale is sapped. Do not complain, what is called collateral damage of a man in relation to a computer guided many deaths and maimings are out on our innocent? You colonizers reap what you sow. No new head will emerge from the door. No new head will grow out of the kingdom beheaded. But this is our country and we thrive and flourish in it, which wither and disappear. Consider the execution of this man as odštetu.Komisija Truth and Reconciliation Commission, without pomirenja.Prvi participation in the blood of what is owed to rape our country and people.

中国的 Bulletin: We march in front of this man in the eyes of the world. Maybe you cowardly drones and bombs from five miles cut off our heads one but two sea instant pop from bloodied stump instead. You can not defeat us. You call us a pit of vipers, but you do not have anti-venom offset us. However, when we turn to behead this man, your people have lost their will to prosecute the fight. They have been weakened. Do not complain, what is called collateral damage a person, compared to a computer-guided deaths and maimings you vent on our innocent? Colonialists your choosing. No new head from his neck will germinate. No new growth from the decapitated head of the empire. However, this is our land, we grow, bloom where you wither and perish. Consider implementing this man, as compensation. Truth and Reconciliation Commission, there is no reconciliation. The first initial blood we owe our land and people raped.



العربية Statement: We procession this man in front of the eyes of the world. You have the cowardly drones and bombs from 5 miles to seal may once out of our heads, but two more immediately spring up from the stump of blood to replace him. You can not defeat us. You can contact us pit vipers, but you do not have anti-venom to face us. Even now, when we in turn come to decapitate this man, the masses lose your free will to prosecute the battle. And sapped morale. Do not complain, what is the so-called collateral damage of one man, compared with the computer directed many of the deaths and maiming that wreak on our innocent? I colonists reap what you sow. A new President will not sprout from his neck. A new President will not grow from the Empire decapitated your. But this is our land and we thrive and bloom in it, where you wither and die. Consider the implementation of this man is compensation. To the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, without reconciliation. Advance payment for the first time in the blood on what we owed ​​to rape our land and our people.


தமிழ் Report: The man in front of the eyes of the world, we march. Your cowardly fired from unmanned drones and up to 5 miles with our heads cut off, but instead immediately bloodied by two more in the direction from the spring. You can not defeat us. A pit vipers us to call you, but you do not want to poison us against the opposition. We will behead them when this man, you struggle to prosecute people lose their wishes. Their morale sapped. No complaint, you ruin the computer guidance on what our innocent compared to many deaths and maimings, a man is called collateral damage? What you sow you reap colonialists. The new leadership will sprout from his neck. Empire with your arm grows from the new leadership. But it is our soil, and we will thrive and bloom, where you wither, die. Consider reparations to fulfill this man. Without compromising the truth and reconciliation commission. What do we pay our land mass rape in the blood first downpayment.



Khmer Communiqué: We parade this man before the eyes of the world. Dachahangkear cowardly unmanned and bombs from 5 miles to chop off our heads, but two more immediately spring up from the stump bloodied to replace it. You can not get rid of us. You call us the pit of vipers, but you do not have administrator anti-venom to counteract. Yet when we turn to behead a man of the people lost their will to prosecute the fight. Their morality is sapped., Do not complain is the collateral damage of so-called man nothing compared to the death of many computers to disabled people and wreak on our innocent? colonialists, you reap what you sow. No new shoots from his neck. No new growth from the United Kingdom, decapitated., But this is our land and we grow and bloom in it where you wither and perish. Consider the execution of a man as compensation. Truth and reconciliation committee without karophsaahphsaa_cheate. Blood in the first downpayment on what we are owed for violations of our land and people.

فارسی  Announcement: Our parade him before the eyes of the world. You cowardly drones and drones and bombs than 5 miles until we could chop one head, but two immediately spring from the bloody stump instead. You can defeat us. You give us a pit of vipers, but you do not have to deal with anti-venom. But when we come to turn a man beheaded, people lose their will to pursue the fight. Their morale is sapped. Do not complain, what is a man called Collateral Damage, compared with the computer-driven maimings deaths of many innocent people, our revenge on you? You reap what you sow colonists. No new head sprouting from his neck. You cut any new chief of the empire grow. But this is our land and we grow and blossom in it, where you will wither and perish. Consider the man's death as compensation. Committee truth, no reconciliation. The first payment on the blood of what we owe to rape the land and our people.





11 comments:

Helen said...

Apart from finding this one paragraph really depressing, the picture above reminding me of that horrible moment when they captured that innocent man and beheaded him and posted it up.... the translation of language can indeed be tricky and the words move around to give meaning in a different way although the essence seems the same.

Goes off to get some chocolate now to cheer herself up.

Laura Eno said...

I find your experiment fascinating, as I've always checked and rechecked translations myself, knowing they are going to be skewed and somewhat garbled. I agree, the "lesser" languages are being shoved aside in favor of homgenous blending. Perhaps we'll all understand one another better one day, but the essence of our cultural differences will be trampled in the process.

Kath said...

I know you didn't think this made as many changes as you'd expected or hoped for, but yet, the subtle differences between each paragraph of what started as the same text made for some significant differences of emphasis. This was such a cool and interesting experiment in language and just goes to show how understanding & using a language - and the culture it grows out of - can't be reduced down to algorithms. I'm going to go back and read it a couple more times now.

Virginia Moffatt said...

yes it worked for me...as Kath says subtle differences. Not sure about the first picture though...If that's genuine not sure I like it being in a fictional piece. But the piece itself is strong and an excellent idea which proves it's point

Sonia Lal said...

I think those tiny changes in the words are interesting. The meaning is more or less the same, but not really alike.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

You know, this is the kind of thing that will get you on a no-fly list....

Love the choice of song to go with it too!

Icy Sedgwick said...

This is why I think people should be wary in using automatic translators - context gets lost along the way...

Sulci Collective said...

not a problem for me Tim, I don't fly anyway! :-)

Eric J. Krause said...

Excellent idea for an experiment in words.

Adam B said...

Always love how you play and manipulate language. Depressing subject matter, but clever word play.
Adam B @revhappiness

Cindy Vaskova said...

Very interesting choosing of languages and as well a curious and as it has been said fascinating result. I admire your words and I feel the effect of their nature altered through Google, although incorrect. The variations of each words are frightening and yet serve as a lesson. Great idea Marc.