Archive for the ‘Translation’ Category

Google translates

October 29, 2022

I’ve been sleeping most of my days away, not happily, so not advancing on raunchy appetizer boards and the like. Thanks to Hana Filip, reporting on Google Translate, for today’s Mary, Queen of Scots Not Dead Yet posting.

Today on Facebook, from Hana:

Discussion (somewhat edited):
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Interpretive services

January 5, 2020

Via the STRS (State Teachers Retirement System) Ohio health care program, a message from the Express Scripts prescription company about preferred pharmacies in my area, with several pages of information about the Express Scripts “Multi-language Interpreter Services”, offering translations of their literature into any of 22 languages. I was startled to see, in the middle of this list, Pennsylvania Dutch / Deitsch:

Mir hen free Iwwersetzer Services um die Frooge zu andwatte, die du vielleicht iwwer dei Gsundheit odder Drug Blan hoscht. …

And then I wondered about the selection of languages, which strikes me as very odd. Express Scripts presumably knows who it’s serving — in particular, the communities in its customer base that use languages other than English —  but still I wonder.

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The hand that cradles the tree

May 3, 2019

… and the monster that guides the elderly. Both pieces of outdoor art in Switzerland, the first in the town of Glarus (in my ancestral canton of Glarus), the second in the city of Zürich.


(#1) The Caring Hand in Glarus

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Two bookish Tom Gaulds

September 20, 2018

More from the cartoonist of the bookish class, passed on by Facebook friends: on translation, and on book formats.

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¡Albondigas! ¿No te dije?

November 22, 2017

“New Sentences: From Duolingo’s Italian Lessons” by Sam Anderson, in print in the New York Times Magazine on Sunday the 19th:

‘Gli animali rimangono nello zoo.’ (‘The animals remain in the zoo.’)

From Duolingo, a “science-based language education platform” available on Apple, Android and Windows smartphones and online.

Language-learning sentences are always slightly funny. They exist to teach you linguistically, not to communicate anything about the actual world. They are sentences that are also nonsentences — generic by design, without personality or ambiguity: human language in merely humanoid strings. [They are, as the philosophically inclined among us sometimes say, mentioned, not used.] The subtext is always just “Here is something a person might say.” It’s like someone making a window. What matters is that it’s transparent, not what is being seen through it.

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No te vayas de Zamboanga

June 1, 2017

My morning name on Sunday was Zamboanga, which I immediately recognized as a placename, for a city on the island of Mindanao, the southernmost large island of the Philippines. And I immediately understand why it was in my memory: it’s from a song in the music book I had in the 3rd or 4th grade (I’m not sure which — look, this is all from almost 70 years ago), a compilation of folk songs for children. Which included a song about Zamboanga.

The original of the song was in Spanish — “No Te Vayas de Zamboanga” — or possibly in the Mindanao creole called Chavacano or Chabacano, but we sang it in English, probably in the widespread mistranslation “Do Not Go to (Far) Zamboanga”. (A more accurate translation is “Do Not Go from Zamboanga” or “Do Not Leave Zamboanga” — Zamboanga being both a place of great physical beauty and the home of the singer’s beloved.)

The mystery in all this is why this particular childhood memory surfaced on Sunday morning.

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My tongue broke out in unknown strains

November 28, 2016

Yesterday, shapenote singing (Sacred Harp, Denson Revision 1991) in Palo Alto. The Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend (in the U.S.), so songs of thanks (there are a great many of these). And the first Sunday of Advent, so songs with come significantly in the text (pretty many of these) and, looking forward, Christmas songs (there are tons of these); meanwhile, we are now firmly into the commercial and cultural Christmas season, so of course Christmas songs. But we wandered onto other church holidays: Easter Anthem #236, and the passionate Pentecost song Conversion #297:

  (#1)

In the events alluded to here, on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, a group of very early Christians (among them, the Apostles and Mary, the Mother of God) are possessed, enraptured, by the Holy Spirit, manifested as tongues of flame that descend upon them, granting them God’s grace and so transforming them, making them new, and, in addition, giving them the ability to speak in all languages (earthly or divine), to speak in tongues, as this ability came to be known.

So Pentecost is one of a small set of linguists’ holidays (up there with Hangul Day in Korea and an assortment of invented occasions like National Grammar Day).

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Sex in the shadows

March 6, 2016

(There will be stuff about music and some incidental stuff on translation, but there’s also crude mansex in very plain language, so this is certainly not for kids or the sexually modest.)

The latest Daily Jocks ad, with a caption of mine (one you can sing!):

Randy Handy stands in the shadows
While his johns walk in the light
You see the rich guys shine in brightness
But their stud hustler’s out of sight

Randy is prime meat in his rentboy stable, so a 50%-off sale is a real money-saver, guys.

Some background notes on the fantasy in the caption, then lots of words on the source of the caption (meanwhile, think “Mack the Knife”).

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Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus

November 25, 2015

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, so we’re about to embark on the official season of Christmas songs and Christmas shopping (though both have been upon us for some time, and Christmas decorations have been up for some time as well — at the restaurant Reposado in Palo Alto they went up right after Halloween). Periodically I post about about Christmas music, especially weird stuff; my daughter Elizabeth, grand-daughter Opal, and other friends feed me great stuff. In 2012, among my Christmas music postings was “The multicultural Christmas playlist, mostly Jingle Bells”, where I mentioned in passing the Latin translation of the song that I learned in high school, nearly 60 years ago. The part I still recall is the chorus:

Tinnitus, tinnitus, semper tinnitus
O tantum est gaudium dum vehimur in trahā

(There are other translations into Latin out there.) Now to look at the Latin.

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Follow-up: Heino

November 1, 2015

In my posting on things Rosamunde, I provided a video of the German singer Heino performing the hymn to beer-drinking “Rosamunde”. Now more information about the man, from Wikipedia:

Heino (born 13 December 1938 as Heinz Georg Kramm) is a German singer of popular music (Schlager) and traditional Volksmusik. Having sold a total of over 50 million records, he is one of the most successful German musicians ever.
Known for his baritone voice and trademark combination of light blond hair and dark sunglasses (which he wears due to exophthalmos [bulging eyeballs, from Graves’ disease]), Heino resides in the town of Bad Münstereifel, where he owned a cafe until June 2012. His interest in music started when his mother gave him an accordion in 1948, although his family could barely afford it.

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