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Today's SMBC, oddly out of phase with the seasons, starts this way:

The last panel:

It would spoil the joke, but some of the translations ought to be things like "Hey, it's me!", or "Keep out!", or "Predator!", or …

See also "No More Woof", 1/2/2014, especially this:


  1. Emilio Márquez said,

    September 18, 2015 @ 11:35 am

    There must have been something lost in translation.

  2. Rube said,

    September 18, 2015 @ 12:22 pm

    I think the movie "Up" pretty much had the last word in "translating what animals are really saying" jokes.


  3. Jacob said,

    September 18, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

    Speaking of "The Far Side"…


  4. Ken Miner said,

    September 18, 2015 @ 1:32 pm

    Nothing makes one ponder as much as T. H. White's writing about Arthur among the animals. Here you will object; there you will say "spot on!" You will read the songs of the wild geese and ask whether they are what we would sing if we were wild geese, or what wild geese would sing if they were us. (White does say somewhere that on those rare occasions when we see ourselves as animals, people say we are doing the opposite: seeing animals as ourselves.)

  5. N. Stanzione said,

    September 18, 2015 @ 2:33 pm

    One of my favorite jokes in this vein comes from a cartoon in Henry Beard's "Latin for All Occasions" in which a dog is saying to his master, "Latro! Fremo!"—literally, "I am barking! I am growling!"

  6. Rubrick said,

    September 18, 2015 @ 3:00 pm

    Adding to the Pixar-related commentary, the final gag of Inside Out's end-credits vignettes is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. (Relevance to thread omitted to avoid spoilers.)

  7. Bill said,

    September 18, 2015 @ 4:31 pm

    You do realise it's spring in half the world.

  8. stevenz said,

    September 18, 2015 @ 6:47 pm

    Bill is right. Springtime here.

  9. Eric P Smith said,

    September 18, 2015 @ 6:52 pm

    @Bill: not really, because many climatic areas have no time of year that can be described as “spring”. (I'm being pedantic: I grant it's spring in most south temperate areas.)

  10. Xmun said,

    September 18, 2015 @ 11:29 pm

    It might be spring here (Kapiti Coast, NZ) according to the calendar, but it doesn't feel like it. Bitterly cold wind. Snow in the South Island and expected tonight in the North Island. Where are you, stevenz?

  11. Keith said,

    September 19, 2015 @ 2:36 am

    I was out in the garden one evening with my son, and there was a male blackbird (Turdus merula) singing very loudly in a tree close by.

    He wondered out loud what he was saying in "blackbirdish".

    I told him he was shouting "this is my tree, do you here me? my tree! hey chicks, come and look how great my tree is!"

  12. Brett said,

    September 19, 2015 @ 11:57 am

    @Ken Miner: I always found it odd that White cut a chunk of the animal material from The Sword in the Stone when he fixed-up (or is that "fix-upped") The Once and Future King. I think its among the best stuff in the original (as well as the loose Disney adaptation).

  13. Nathan said,

    September 19, 2015 @ 1:21 pm

    It's not spring anywhere on this planet just yet. Equinox is the 23rd.

  14. Adam F said,

    September 19, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

    With regard to the Far Side canine decoder — didn't someone get an Ig Nobel prize for dog-Japanese translation software?

  15. Alex said,

    September 19, 2015 @ 4:19 pm

    Gary Larson's full length book Theres a Hair in My Dirt has a similar comment about bird calls being mostly insults and come-ons ore something like that.

  16. January First-of-May said,

    September 19, 2015 @ 5:26 pm

    The Soviet sci-fi comedy Moscow Cassiopeia has a scene where various gadgets invented for the space expedition are presented to the crew; one of them is a universal translator.
    It's tested on a dog, which is heard to say something along the lines of "what is this thing doing here, give me some tasty bone instead".

  17. Michael Watts said,

    September 19, 2015 @ 5:44 pm

    Nathan: is spring better characterized as an astronomical phenomenon of no particular relevance, or as a description of the weather?

  18. Ken Miner said,

    September 19, 2015 @ 5:58 pm

    @ Brett Agree. I think there is some animal stuff in The Book of Merlin too.

  19. Thomas Rees said,

    September 19, 2015 @ 11:07 pm

    Nathan: Spring begins on the first of September in Australia

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