Thanks wasabi

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Jonathan Silk wonders how this mistranslation from Latin to Dutch in Google Translate occurred the same way in English:

I just checked the Latin → Dutch and Latin → English translations, and they've both been fixed.

When I checked them earlier this morning, about two hours ago, they still had the "wasabi" mistranslation.


  1. Ben Zimmer said,

    October 21, 2020 @ 11:03 pm

    I still get the "bedankt bedankt/thanks thanks wasabi" mistranslation in both Dutch and English.

  2. Tom Ace said,

    October 21, 2020 @ 11:54 pm

    I'm still seeing …wasabi. Latin->Japanese renders wasabi in rōmaji (but not if I remove the comma in the Latin text).

  3. ktschwarz said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 12:11 am

    Once again: English is the pivot. When you ask GT for Latin → Dutch, you're getting Latin → English → Dutch. This is one error, not two errors.

    I'm also getting "wasabi", and it's the same on the iPhone Google Translate app.

  4. Arthur Waldron said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 1:39 am

    A beltway Islamic expert told the FBI that wasabi was the most dangerous form of Islam. The Special Agents all wrote this down carefully. As they left they commented on the speaker’s great expertise. A friend was there. Is this a great country or what? Arthur

  5. Victor Mair said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 5:49 am

    So the "wasabi" mistranslation seems to be deeply embedded. Whatever could have caused such an outlandish rendering?

  6. Cervantes said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 7:25 am

    I tried it the other way around and it translates wasabi in English to totus tuus in Latin. I can't think of any explanation for this. On the other hand totus tuus in Latin translates to "all yours," although "omnium vestrum" is preferred the other way around. Very weird . . .

  7. David C. said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 7:28 am

    Appears to be the neural machine translation at work again. If you select the word Wasabi, you get other options such as “all yours“ that are expected.

    The wild guess that I’ll throw out is that in google’s source documents, the word wasabi often appears in the same sentence as “all you can eat” as in Japanese buffet restaurants, hence the connection.

  8. Terry K. said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 8:33 am

    Wondering if "Bedankt bedankt" sounds as strange as the English "Thanks thanks" or if it reads more like "Thank you, thank you".

  9. AG said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 9:26 am

    seems to have been noticed as far back as nearly three years ago:

  10. OvV said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 9:33 am

    Instead of "bedankt, bedankt" I would say: "nogmaals bedankt".
    English translation: thanks again.
    "Nogmaals bedankt" can be used as a kind of confirmation of gratitude, in closing an email.
    Wasabi: I'm at a loss. I know this stuff as a hot herbal spice, nothing else.

  11. JJM said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 9:34 am


    "TOTUS TUUS" was St Pope John Paul II's apostolic motto.

  12. JJM said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 10:00 am

    I should have added that today is his feast day.

  13. Gregory Kusnick said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 11:25 am

    Feasting on sushi, one assumes.

    "Any wasabi left?"

    "It's all yours."

  14. David Marjanović said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 11:50 am

    although "omnium vestrum" is preferred the other way around

    No, both of those words are in the genitive plural: "of all of you".

  15. CuConnacht said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 3:57 pm

    Wikipedia tells me that totus tuus, all yours, was used to sign off Latin letters. Gratia tibi agens = giving thanks to you. So the original looks like the end of a letter. No idea where the wasabi came from.

  16. Michael Watts said,

    October 22, 2020 @ 5:51 pm

    Wikipedia tells me that totus tuus, all yours, was used to sign off Latin letters. Gratias tibi agens = giving thanks to you.

    Well, the second part is correct…

    I don't see how "totus tuus" could mean "all yours", though, since in "all yours", "all" is an adverb modifying "yours", while in "totus tuus" it is an adjective modifying the implicit noun vir. My best guess at the meaning of "totus tuus" was "your entire man".

    Is the idea that there's also an implict est, for something like "[this] whole man [is] yours"? (I see that the wikipedia article on the phrase traces it from the phrase totus tuus ego sum, and implicitly identifies at as church Latin. When it says "routinely used to sign off letters written in Latin", does it mean letters written in dead Latin or living Latin?)

  17. Kaleberg said,

    October 23, 2020 @ 11:00 pm

    With regards to Waldron's comment on Wasabi Muslims, I remember the site Overheard in New York reporting some old guy arguing against the invasion of Iraq saying that as soon as we got rid of Saddam Hussein, the Sushis and Sashimis would start slaughtering each other. It's a pity he wasn't working for the State Department as was clearly more informed than many who were.

  18. John Swindle said,

    October 24, 2020 @ 8:23 pm

    Whassup, Kemosabe?

  19. Michael Watts said,

    October 24, 2020 @ 10:02 pm

    Lewis and Short definitively supports the idea of adjective totus in an adverbial sense:

    Esp. in agreement with subj. where we use an adv. qualifying the verb, etc., altogether, wholly, entirely: “tota sum misera in metu,” Plaut. Cist. 2, 1, 59; cf.: “Ctesipho in amore est totus,” Ter. Ad. 4, 2, 50: “nescio quid meditans nugarum, totus in illis,” Hor. S. 1, 9, 2: “totus et mente et animo in bellum insistit,” applied himself wholly, Caes. B. G. 6, 5: “qui esset totus ex fraude et mendacio factus,”

    All of these feature a verb, even when the verb is a form of the copula; I would still be interested to know whether bare "totus tuus" was used to sign off letters written by Latin speakers or whether it was developed later by non-speakers.

  20. Peter-Arno Coppen said,

    October 29, 2020 @ 3:31 am

    It seems that 'pulvis totus tuus' is another name for wasabi powder (I would have guessed it would have been 'all spice' but well):

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