Saturday, September 19, 2009

Why there should always be a native English-speaker on-staff.

This is actually an intriguing, downright eerie news item along the lines of the various chupacabra sightings...but it also becomes quite unintentionally funny as a result of the obvious translation issues. My favorite line is "living being made them scary."

For a more language-friendly interpretation, try AOL's version of the story. And be sure to check out the accompanying vid from CNN. Gack.


Elizabeth said...

LMAO! And shaking head at the same time. How human, to club to death a shocking structure thing, no matter how harmless it/s/he may be.

they beat it to death while taking safety measure

Yeah, well, that's what they always say, "safety measure."

After killing that creature they became stable, hold there nerves and return back after taking photograph of that creature.

Indeed, the reasonable thing to do once you become stable.

Cosmic Connie said...

I composed this comment in response to your post:

“Hilarious, Steve. This is why human translators are still needed, and, I daresay, why there are some writing and editing tasks that still cannot (or should not) be outsourced to India.”

I translated it into Spanish via a free online translator, World Lingo (
“Hilarante, Steve. Esta es la razón por la cual los traductores humanos todavía se necesitan, y, I daresay, porqué hay una cierta escritura y las tareas el corregir que todavía no pueden (o no deba) estar outsourced a la India.”

And I translated it back into English from the Spanish translation:
“Laughing, Steve. This is the reason for which the human translators still are needed, and, I daresay, because there is a certain writing and the tasks correcting that still they cannot (or does not have) be outsourced to India.”

That’s what they mean by “lost in translation.” :-)

Anonymous said...

That CNN anchor, whoever she is, isn't much better than the whacked-out translation.

Elizabeth said...

Connie, this is fun! I translated your message to Steve into Polish and back to English and got this:

For, Steve. This is why human translators are still needed, a, and daresay, why there are some writing and to the installation tasks, which is still not (or should not be contracted out to India.

It's shocking structure thing. We should take safety measure and beat it with stick until we become stable and hold are nerves.

Steve Salerno said...

Eliz: Good very.

RevRon's Rants said...

OMG!!! Steve's morphing into Yoda!

LizaJane said...

Funny! Reminds me of that game we played at day camp, way back when. Some called it "Telephone," others called it "Operator." You whispered a long, involved sentence to the kid next to you, who whispered it to the next kid, and so on around a big circle, until the message came back to the original sender and was announced to peals of laughter. It never made it unscathed. And we all spoke English.

RevRon's Rants said...

Back when I was building custom computers for clients, I bought many of my components from a mama-san and papa-san computer shop. If you want to see the pinnacle of language barriers, you should observe the dialog between computer-illiterate customers and salespeople who speak very little English (Most of which, I figure they learned from reading the instruction manuals included with Taiwanese computer parts).

Steve Salerno said...

Ron et al: Dave Barry once wrote a marvelous piece about his attempt to decipher the instructions that came with his Japanese-made VCR. At one point, he wrote, the manual said something like: "Please to not plug in the cord when for unit is functioning or there may be an occurrence." Just classic stuff.