Archive for Found in translation

Civilized urinating

Is this Chinglish?

Source:  "Lost in translation: Chinese government aims to reduce awkward English signs" (CBS News [10/28/17]), with several other prime examples.

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Of dotards and DOLtards

[A guest post by Jichang Lulu.]

After all the brouhaha over Kim Jong Un's 'dotard' philippic, I was reminded of some other Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) invective: those sexist insults against Park Geun-hye, the racist insults against Obama, and specifically those aimed at Michael Kirby, the Australian judge who led a UN inquiry on North Korean human rights. The NK leadership didn't appreciate the scrutiny, and responded by calling Kirby, who is openly gay, a DOL (Disgusting Old Lecher). I was wondering what the Korean for that would be, so I looked for the original piece.

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Dotard

In recent weeks, President Trump has delivered a number of fiery speeches and incendiary tweets about what will happen to North Korea if Kim Jong-un launches nuclear missiles over Japan and toward Guam and the United States.

Naturally, the feisty dictator replied with some choice words of his own:

"North Korean leader responds to Trump: ‘I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire'", bThe Washington Post (9/21/17).

The Washington Post seems to have changed the title of the article, so I can no longer provide a direct link, but there are plentiful records of it on the internet.  In any event, countless other media outlets quoted the same odd word, "dotard".

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The wonders of Google Translate

I have sung the praises of Google Translate (GT) before (e.g., "Google Translate is even better now" [9/27/16]), but this morning something happened with GT that really tickled my fancy.

One thing I use GT for is to compose texts in Chinese.  I find it to be a very powerful and easy to use input tool.

So I input the following:

shuō dìngle 說定了
xīngqítiān zhōngwǔ jiàn 星期天中午見

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A Bite of Russia

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Me So Hungry

Do Victor's posts stoke your appetite for fine foods? Feast on these:

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Attribution of the WannaCry ransomware to Chinese speakers

The notorious WannaCry malware infestation began on Friday, May 12, 2017 and spread rapidly throughout the world, infecting hundreds of thousands of computers and causing major damage.  Speculation concerning the identity of the perpetrators focused on North Korea, but the supposed connection was never convincingly demonstrated, and there were no other serious suspects.

Yesterday, Jon Condra, John Costello, and Sherman Chu published a stunning report which suggests that the authors of WannaCry — or someone they hired — spoke fluent Chinese:

"Linguistic Analysis of WannaCry Ransomware Messages Suggests Chinese-Speaking Authors" (Flashpoint [5/25/17])

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Found in Translation

"Found in Translation" is the latest in the PBS video series Articulate, exploring how "scholarly translations are a constant battle between literal accuracy and literary interpretation."

Connoisseurs of automated translation follies will appreciate the bit about 4 minutes in when Peter Cole copies some Hebrew into Google Translate and gets the English output, "ui on Lbbc stopped Heather." ("Lbbc" is in the Hebrew original for some reason, so this might not be the best translational task.)

(h/t Grant Barrett)

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Coffee Yao, Finger Chen, Doy Chiang, and colleagues

Thorin Engeseth noticed that, at the end of the Taiwanese video game "Detention", there are some interesting adopted Western names among the people involved in the game's creation — especially Coffee, Finger, and Smiler:

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Backstroke of the West

Patrick Shanley, "'Revenge of the Sith' Dubbed With Bootleg Chinese Dialogue Is a Fan-Made Masterpiece", The Hollywood Reporter 1/3/2017:

YouTuber GratefulDeadpool has done the unthinkable: He's made Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith cool.

Using the original Chinese subtitles, which feature multiple lost-in-translation misinterpretations, GratefulDeadpool redubbed the prequel trilogy's final installment — with hilarious results.

Entitled Backstroke of the West Highlights Part 1 (Star War: The Third Gathers), the recut features such memorable lines as "I has been hating you," from the villainous Count Dooku, and "The front is a lemon avenue flying straightly," spoken by Obi-Wan Kenobi while piloting a careening starship.

Dorkly explains the bizarre translations likely "began with a machine translation of the Chinese script to [Revenge of the Sith], which attempted to literally translate from Mandarin to English, despite the multitude of barriers between the two languages." The end result was great quips, such as "Smelly boy" from General Grievous to Kenobi and "Your dead period arrived, teacher" from a rebellious Anakin Skywalker during his fateful lightsaber duel with his master on Mustafar.

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Metatranslation

Huawei Technologies is a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company.  Mark Metcalf sent in this photograph of a scene at their corporate headquarters in Shenzhen:

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Phono-semantic rebranding

There's a new article on linguistic borrowing by Jane C. Hu in Quartz (10/23/16):  "The genius and stupidity of corporate America are on display when companies rebrand for new countries".  The article originally had a better title:  "Phono-semantic matching is corporate America's best option when trying to rebrand for new countries".

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What's in the sachet?

At my hotel here in Brno, Czechia, the shampoo comes in small sachets, manufactured in Düsseldorf, labeled with the word denoting the contents in a long list of suitable European Union languages. I can't tell you which languages they picked, for reasons which will immediately become apparent. Here are the first four:

  1. Shampoo
  2. Shampoo
  3. Shampooing
  4. Shampoo

Just so you're sure.

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