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Sunday, January 30, 2005


"Poetry is what is lost in translation." 


So said Robert Frost.

If my writings were even just a little poetic, then I could say that must be what's wrong with Google's translations of them. Take a look at Google's Spanish translation of my previous entry. I'm amused, for example, that "the Book of Job" is translated "el libro del trabajo", or "the book of work". Since "Job" with a long O sound is stored in a completely different place in my brain from the word "job" with a short O, I actually spent a moment of dissonance figuring out why the automated translator had chosen the latter.

(My Francophile friends may enjoy opening google.com/fr, typing in "link:blog.renice.com", or another favorite URL, and clicking "Traduire cette page".)

I'd found the Spanish translation only because I noticed in my logs that someone in Spain is reading translated versions of these entries. Since the translations don't always make sense, I'm wondering what conclusions my Spanish audience has reached. I'm also wondering if these translations don't, to some extent, offer a new way to think about accessibility. At any rate, I'm having some fun reading the translations.

I love Spanish. I took 3 years of Spanish in college, even though it meant I had to petition the dean to count the language toward my Art History degree (French, German, or Italian were preferred). Although I've never been able to roll Spanish off my tongue as fast as a college friend, a certain amiga Puertorriqueña, chided me that I should, I have always loved hearing and reading it. Back as an undergrad, I had planned to live some day in a Spanish-speaking country – in fact, I hope to yet.

Of course, some may argue that I live in a Spanish-speaking country now – and I have to admit that I've had occasion to agree.

[Next: How I became La Secretaria de la Línea.]

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