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Google Translate user mistakes

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IronFist
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 Message 1 of 8
18 February 2012 at 8:08am | IP Logged 
Ok for the most part I love Google Translate, and use it multiple times per day.

But there is one thing I hate about it. I think it lets users suggest other translations for certain words. In theory this is a great idea, but of course some people are going to mess it up. Here is an example where this leads to things that are completely wrong.

One of my favorite bands is a power metal band from Finland called Nightwish. Most of their songs are in English, but some are in Finnish, including one called "Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan," and I wanted to know what it means, so I went to Google Translate:



It says it means "the Siren."

Now, that's awfully suspicious to me because Nightwish has another song called "the Siren" that is in English. Why would they give two songs the same name?

(side note: "The Siren" is an awesome song. Have a listen here)

Somebody has been messing with Google Translate.

Looking up the words one at a time reveals their true meaning:

Kuolema = death
Tekee = will
Taiteilijan = the artist

And I've seen the title translated as "Death Makes the Artist" which I assume is in reference to how artists become more famous after they die.

Have you ever seen a translation on Google Translate that was really wrong because someone submitted an alternate (and wrong) translation?

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Serpent
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 Message 2 of 8
18 February 2012 at 12:42pm | IP Logged 
LOL! I think they were automatically considered matching. It's like those funny/weird examples going around. Can't remember anything more funny, but for example I've typed Шереметьево, one of Moscow's airports' name, and the translation is just Airport :D
edit: and as far as I remember there was an example when Heathrow Airport got translated as a name in another country. Because in otherwise similar texts Heathrow was mentioned in English while other airports were mentioned in other languages. That's more or less how google translate works.

Great songs, both of them.

Edited by Serpent on 18 February 2012 at 12:48pm

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Deji
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 Message 3 of 8
19 February 2012 at 2:23am | IP Logged 
WE CAN LEARN SO MUCH from WORLDWIDE COMMUNICATION

or

ADVENTURES in GOOGLE TRANSLATION

I need to buy a few apples and some lettuce at the store tonight. My shopping basket was so heavy that I took a
shopping cart instead. The clerk is weighing a bunch of bananas for the customer. Please buy two cartons of milk
for me at the store tomorrow. I dropped a carton of eggs and a jug of milk on the floor. The clerk helped me
clean up the mess and get new groceries.


I took this paragraph from a language site. I then translated it into hindi, then from hindi to french, then English,
then Hindi, then English, then Hindi, then English, then Hindi, then I got this :


I have the Apple store this evening I need to buy salad. I was much bigger than your shopping cart, I took a
basket. For customers committed to weigh a bunch of bananas. Store to buy milk from me tomorrow cartoons.
Eggs and milk I spilled on the floor of a section of a cartoon. I clean up the mess and help the new grocery bags.

I am sure the new grocery bags appreciated the help!


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vonPeterhof
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 Message 4 of 8
19 February 2012 at 8:19am | IP Logged 
The most bizarre ones I saw were where typing "Tarkan" (a popular Turkish pop singer) in the Turkish-English translator gives you "Joe" and where typing "ole ivars" (a Norwegian dansband) in the Norwegian-English one gives you "Bob Marley". I'm not sure if Tarkan is so common a name that it could be used in the Turkish equivalent of the idiom "the average Joe", and if this sounds like reggae to you then you gotta have your musical hearing checked.
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Serpent
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 Message 5 of 8
19 February 2012 at 11:44am | IP Logged 
Oh, right, happens with football teams/players too. Universitatea Craiova is translated as West Ham. I wonder since when, btw - both are old, popular teams that got relegated recently.





Iversen
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 Message 6 of 8
19 February 2012 at 2:41pm | IP Logged 
I don't know whether the errors are due to manual input from users, but you have to be on guard (and especially not trust the translation from something wellknown into something you can't control yourself). Some errors are probably due to statistics run berserk rather than user input, for instance the classical one where Google substitute other languages or countries for those in your text - for instance if I write about translations from Spanish into a minor language like, say, Danish it might change this into translations from Spanish into English. Maybe Google could keep a list of proper names, languages etc. to avoid this. It his harder to see how it can avoid trusting user input. One little test: try choosing an alternative translation. It will get a different color and stay unchanged even if the surrounding text is modified. Which for instance could mean that you get a wrong case or gender.


Edited by Iversen on 20 February 2012 at 1:16pm

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jdmoncada
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 Message 7 of 8
19 February 2012 at 5:56pm | IP Logged 
I did a search for a website in Finnish for musician Alex Ojasti, who was/is in the group Aikakone. In the English translation, it said he was in Coldplay. Not even close!



fiziwig
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 Message 8 of 8
19 February 2012 at 6:29pm | IP Logged 
Since their raw statistics are gathered from parallel texts that have been translated by human translators proper names that refer to more or less generic cultural icons are usually "translated" to a different name that would be as familiar in the target culture.

A human translator encountering "George Washington" in an English text in a role that had nothing specifically to do with old George, but was just meant to illustrate some famous person in the history of the country might translate that name into Spanish as Don José de San Martín for a South American audience. I've seen many examples of this sort of thing in reading human translations of English books into Spanish.


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