January 31, 2013
By Ofer Tirosh
Ever heard of a site called Translation Party? If not, perhaps you should. It’s no secret to anyone that the wide array of auto translators online can leave room for miscommunication, translation errors and downright funny mix-ups. But Translation Party is a little different. This site takes an English sentence inputted by the user, translates it to another language and back to English as many times as necessary to reach equilibrium.
A straightforward sentence such as “my name is…” will reach equilibrium right away, but more complex sentences full of multiple nouns and verbs may never reach equilibrium. For example, the theme song for the popular 90’s show Fresh Prince of Belair went from;
In West Philadelphia, born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days. Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool and all shooting some b-ball outside of the school, when a couple of guys — they were up to no good — started making trouble in my neighborhood. I got in one little fight and my mom got scared and said, "You're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air!"
And turned into;
Born in West Philadelphia in a short period of time. In conclusion, on Sunday has been updated. School in a few minutes. I see you. Next week is not good. Economic problems. Mama! I bring fear. She speaks: "I have nothing!"
Although mis-translations can be humorous, Translation Party simply illustrates how difficult it can be to complete accurate machine translations as slang, idioms and complex grammar can be lost in translation. Word to the wise: if you’re translating something important, a live translation service is always best!
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