Toonbots -- ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US[ toonbots home ] [ the toon-o-matic ] [ forum ]
So I thought I'd have a little fun with Babelfish. If you somehow haven't heard of Babelfish, it's a Web-accessible
translation program. It's based on SYSTRAN, arguably the very first machine translation software, which has a continuous
history dating back to the 1940's, where it was started as a Russian-English translator in Dayton, Ohio. Ah, the heady
days when we could still believe that human cognition was going to be easy to emulate!
So you thought ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US is funny, eh? Try translating it to German. Here's the original:
IN A.D. 2051 WAR BREAK OUT.As usual, I don't quote all that accurately. But most of it's there, you'll agree. But here's the German "equivalent."
IM KRIEG A.D. 2051 BRECHEN SIE AUS.OK, so maybe you don't speak German. I do, and this was mildly amusing; "base" is translated as "underside", stuff like that. Then I thought, hey, let's let it come back to English. You can often get Systran to do really funny stuff this way (yes, I did a readings-and-research on machine translation a few years back and I'm still rather fixated on it.)
IN THE WAR A.D. 2051 BREAKING IT OUT."Legends"? Yeah. The word "sagen" means "they (or you) say", and "Sagen" means "legends". I'm guessing the all-caps are confusing it. I like "THEIR WHOLE LOWER SURFACE", too.
So let's take another turn, shall we? Yeah, this is just starting to get good.
IM KRIEG A.D. 2051 ES HERAUS BRECHEND.You wish you understood German at this point, because some of this is really getting hilarious. Let's see what survives into English. I will separate that Schaltung up there where the 'C' crept in. (Don't they ever debug this stuff? Answer: no. Literally, no. No-one has understood the Systran code, ever, and since the original programmers are in their nineties or dead, they couldn't help much anyway.)
IN THE WAR A.D. 2051 IT OUT BREAKING.I'm driven to see where this is going. To save some typing, I'm going to eliminate those sentences which survive intact (HELLO GENTLEMEN) or which have reached a bistable state (SHIFT ALL 'ZIG') and just go with the ones which show more ... schizoid tendencies.
IM KRIEG A.D. 2051 ES AUS DEM BRECHEN.Where is this taking us? (That "Eigenschaft" (property) keeps popping up makes me believe that it's an internal tag for an attribute.) Wash, rinse, and repeat:
IN THE WAR A.D. 2051 IT FROM BREAKING.Yeah. THEIR COMPLETE LOWER SURFACE ARE HEARING SAMPLE TO US. Suddenly that nameless Japanese copy editor seems a lot more human, right? OK. I can keep this up all night:
IM KRIEG A.D. 2051 ES VOM BRECHEN.What?!? That's ... not German. Exactly. I particularly like the "screen screen display of the main screen" there. Hey -- here's an idea. Let's translate this back into English!! HOORAY!!
IN THE WAR A.D. 2051 IT OF BREAKING.Wow. That last sentence seems to be gaining in coherence, doesn't it? ... Must .. resist ... Gah. No, I have to take another vowel:
WIR MAIN BILDSCHIRMANZEIGE Schreiben der Bildschirmmaske-Bildschirmbildschirmanzeige des elektrischen electrischen Stromkreises des SIGNALS der Eigenschaft.Um...
WE MAIN SCREEN DISPLAY writing of the display screen mask screen mask screen display of the electrical electrical electric circuit of the SIGNAL of the characteristic.I really think it's going to come up with something nearly sensible for the last one, and I wonder how many times it will repeat "screen" and "electrical" in the first. So I spring for another round (you can feel free to go somewhere else if you're getting bored, but I'm just getting warmed up.)
WIR MAIN BILDSCHIRM Bildschirmanzeige-Schreiben der Bildschirm-Schablone Bildschirmmaske-Bildschirmbildschirmanzeige dse elektrischen elektrischen electrischen Stromkreises vom SIGNAL der Eigenschaft.Whoa. That's poetic, dude. Hey, how 'bout an English translation for the monolingual, eh?
WE MAIN DISPLAY screen display writing of the display template display screen mask screen mask screen display of the electrical electrical electrical electric circuit of the SIGNAL of the characteristic.Morbid curiosity takes the fore:
WIR MAIN Bildschirm-Bildschirmanzeigeschreiben der Bildschirmanzeigeschablone Bildschirm-Schablone Bildschirmmaske-Bildschirmbildschirmanzeige des elektrischen elektrischen elektrischen elektrischen Stromkreises vom SIGNAL der Eigenschaft....
WE MAIN screen mask screen display writing of the screen display template display template display screen mask screen mask screen display of the electrical electrical electrical electrical electric circuit of the SIGNAL of the characteristc.OK. The first is obviously going to keep going like that forever, the second is probably going to start going "sample sample example sample hearing sample example" -- but that third one. ITS TIME, a way INWARD FOR FIGURATION. Wow. This is poetry from the very ether itself. Yeah, I'm going to follow it a bit.
ES SCHREIBT WAHRSCHEINLICHKEIT NICHT FUER UEBERLEBEN EIGENSCHAFT, SEINE ZEIT, ein Weise INNERE FUER FIGURATION.I guess that's all the Oracle has to say.
Nobody can kill a catchphrase like we can here at Toonbots!
March 20, 2001
I wrote the above, very sleeplessly, on March 2. Since then, rather strangely, it has become the biggest attraction on my site. Bigger than the comic (well, duh, the comic is a by-product; the real fans usually need electroshock therapy). Bigger than my open-source project. All of which leads me to one burning question: does everybody in the frickin' world have more free time than I do, or what's going on here?
Anyway, thanks for reading. Thanks to the author of the one fan mail I got (you know who you are). *snif* Thanks to all the little people. You've made it all possible.
Or, to put it another way:
I wrote specified, much sleeplessly, the above, March 2. Since at that time rather strangely, it became the largest attraction to my Site. More largely than that amusingly (well, is duh, an amusing side effect; the real fans need normally electroshocktherapie). More largely than my opening pouring project. Which me to a burning question leads: each in frickin does ' world have freer time, than I or which loosely here is? Anyway thanks for measured value. Owing to the author of the one fan post office, which I received (you know, whom you are). * snif * thanks of all small people. They enabled it completely.(I've since automated the process of double translation with a couple of Perl scripts and cURL. It's even more fun if you don't have to retype everything between steps.)
Thanks for measured value.
April 25, 2007