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Thread: Why you should be skeptical of a google translation ....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    GTA Ontario Canada
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    Why you should be skeptical of a google translation ....

    Well i thought this would both amuse and inform so here goes a bit of trivia.


    Back in SA i had an Afrikaans Step Grandmother. She was from farming stock and had lived on the family farm which happened to be in one of the most difficult areas to farm in the whole country. Talk about farming in the desert.

    Anyhow as farmers go when i was a teenager i got to chat with her and she was quiet a character. This is the closest one could get to a real BOER woman.

    Well i told her about my issues with a girlfriend one day and she gave me the following saying. It was kinda in reverse from the sexes point of view but i am sure you will get it.

    The saying goes untranslated " Jy ken nie jou man tot dat jy 'n sak sout saam geeet het"

    Correctly translated from Afrikaans it says " You dont know your man until you have eaten a sack of salt together" ......now of course consider that it would take a lifetime to eat a sack of salt together and you get the picture the old wise lady was passing on to the young buck.

    As they say there is great wisdom in these old sayings.


    Well i tend to think this about many things one of which is pitching up at a small business and offering advice before you have spent any time to get to know the owner or understand the dilemmas he/she faces on a daily basis. So i had cause this week to send this anecdote to someone in the context of small business advice.


    Just for fits and giggles since i knew i had my Afrikaans perfectly correct i thought i would try out the google translator to see what it says it is.

    Well take a look at this after i cut and paste it into google and even told it to translate from Afrikaans to English.

    "You know your husband to you eaten a bag of salt"

    So its a word of warning that you definitely cannot trust google as a source of translation without any insight to what is being said.

    I aint fluent in any other languages so i cannot test the system with others like i did the Afrikaans would be interesting to know how it does with the more popular languages.

    BTW there is nothing special about the saying in terms of the way its constructed language wise in Afrikaans the tenses etc are correct for the way its written and spoken.

    It has make me wonder about German with its complicated "proper German" of the northern part versus something spoken in say Bavaria.

    Still its been handy to me to get the gist of a website when its in a foreign language.


    As Jim would say enjoy.
    cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Anything free must be taken with a sack of salt.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  3. #3
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    i never found a free woman!!! they all cost alot but sometimes you get alot in return.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
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    Larry, maybe you were shopping in the wrong store!
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
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    I was in The Source (prev. Radio Shack) a couple of years ago, and I picked up a dummy surveillance camera. On the back of the blisterpack it said, "Pans left to right when motion is detected." The French translation was: Les casseroles sont laissé à droit lorsque la motion est détecté. Or "The casseroles (pans) are left on the right [side] when motion is detected."

    It obviously said the same kind of thing in Spanish. A private school near my home has a completely ludicrous scroll on its coat of arms, probably made up by a student using Google translate. It's dangerous unless used very carefully.
    Last edited by Roger Tulk; 10-13-2012 at 12:40 AM.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    30,008
    I've had a lot of fun (and seen a lot of mistakes) using Google Translate when I was producing software documentation in 8 or 9 languages. We hired translation companies for the work, but from time to time it'd be necessary to translate a few words here and there, so we'd just go to Google. We did have ways to verify if Google was right or not, and sometimes it sure wasn't.

    Nothing to do with Google, but on the "pans left and right" issue, I remember the original user manual for the Yamaha Electric Grand Piano had an embarrassing error when it was instructing the reader to "screw the legs into the base of the cabinet." Let's just say the Japanese to English translation used a different - although common - four letter word for "screw". (And it wasn't "bolt", either.)
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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