Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Stupid translator tricks, and a look at Bing Translator

Years ago, back when I was very active in Yahoo, there was a fairly active Yahoo Group called "Silliness and Nonsense" that engaged in serious discussion of the issues of the day. Actually, we'd spend a good deal of our time taking English text, translating it to another language via Alta Vista, then translating it back into English. (Example.)

That translation activity popped into my head when I was reading this quote from Yusuf Mehdi, as reproduced by the Inquisitr:

So why did we pick Bing as the new brand name? We needed a brand that was as fresh and new as our approach. It needed to be like the product — optimized for the Internet. A name that was memorable, short, easy to spell, and that would function well as a URL around the world.

Well, part of the Bing empire is a Bing translator, which appears under the URL http://www.microsofttranslator.com/. It's not as thorough as a certain other free translator that's available - for example, it doesn't support Finnish - but it does support Japanese, allowing me to translate Mehdi's statement from English to Japanese and back again. Here's what I got:

So why were we pick Bing, new brand name?? and a fresh brand tried a new approach was needed. It is necessary as the product — is optimization Internet. Name memorable, short, and easily as the URL slovn, and all over the world often features.

Ah, poetry. But I will give Bing Translator credit for stating something that other translators neglect to state:

Automatic translation can help you understand the gist of the translated text but is no substitute for a professional human translator.

And if I used a messenger program (frankly, I don't use any of them), I'd be curious to see how Windows Live Messenger's translation service worked:

Translation Bot for Windows Live Messenger. Simply add mtbot@hotmail.com to your contacts and invite Tbot to your conversations.

Perhaps I should take a more serious look at translation issues and how they affect business, but it's late.

Or, I was probably a matter of translation, that affect the business and how you need to look more seriously, but later.
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