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June 21st, 2007

BabelFish is my Anti-Drug

Everyone loves to be able to say things in foreign languages. They especially love to be able to say amusing things in foreign languages. Often, these practically useless, yet funny (if only because they are so useless) phrases or words are the only bits of the language these people know.

Which is why the only phrase I can say in French is
Je suis une lesbienne. Meaning, of course, “I am a lesbian.” Not really very useful, unless of course you’re being followed by a horde of sex-crazed rugby players. And even then I’m not sure it’s much of a deterrent.

In any case, I mentioned that this was
the phrase I knew in French to my friend Christy, who happened to be working very late. I then asked “Why are you still at work?” Her reply was “Parce que je suis une lesbienne.” (“Because I am a lesbian.”)

“That’s an interesting reason to be at work,” I replied. “
Êtes-vous des filles ayant une réunion? (Are you ladies having a meeting?)”
Her next missive thrilled me. It said: “J’apprécie la stimulation des femmes au travail. La nuit. D’habitude l’équipage de nettoyage de nuit. Derniérment nous avons expérimenté avec les balais éponge. La soude de chaux de citron.

I think you can all guess what I did next.

That’s right. I went directly to BabelFish and plugged that sucker in. Here is what the helpful translator gave me:
“I appreciate the stimulation of the women to work. The night. Usually the crew of cleaning of night. Lately we tested with the sponge mops. The lemon lime soda.”

Zut alors!

I wasn’t quite sure what was happening, but it made me laugh. The passage was a little bit Allen Ginsberg, a little bit Bill Cosby. And I think there’s some confused Slavic tourist in there, too.

All of this reminded me how much I love BabelFish.

With BabelFish (or any other internet language translator, really) you can create strings of words so incorrect you’ll probably burn off that muffin laughing. Allow me to illustrate:

I will type in the phrase “Would you like to go to museum on Thursday?”

Now I will translate it, using BabelFish, into Spanish. It now says, “¿Usted tiene gusto de ir al museo el jueves?

I will now translate that back into English: “You have taste to go to the museum Thursday?”

Delightful! Let’s keep going!

And that’s just the beginning. The more times you translate, the better it gets! For example, I will take the new, screwy phrase and translate it into French, then into Dutch, then back to English. Then to Italian, to French, to Portuguese and then finally back to English for the final time. It nows says this: “They must proves to the gone museum thursday?”

Tremendous! I could do this all night.

And on several occasions, I have.

The other thing to do is visit the German Amazon.com. If you can figure it out, type in the name of a movie that is available on DVD or VHS. I will choose “When Harry Met Sally.” Scroll down to what looks like the synopsis, copy, paste into BabelFish, translate from German to English and enjoy:

“There are certain films, which one must have seen, no matter whether they please one or not. Harry and Sally … are one of these films. Over 12 years the history of the two New Yorker ones is told, which in the course of the years always again more or less coincidentally over the way run themselves. … Although the film was produced by Rob of pure (Conditions by Me, Misery), it is nevertheless the product of the film script authoress and the rain eating urine Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, Email for You). In the center are located two humans, who are for each other certain. … If one watches the film however a second or third time, one notices fast that that is to be looked at everything very nicely and amusingly. More however actually not.”

I know it’s long. But did you read the part about Nora Ephron? Apparently she’s not very well-liked in Germany. I’ve never actually heard of anyone being called “a urine.” Her presence seems to negate anything good that Rob Of Pure brought to the film.

I encourage all of you to take a trip to BabelFish. If you need me, that’s where I’ll be.

1 comment to BabelFish is my Anti-Drug

  • David

    Génie ! Vous êtes un excellent blogger et une lesbienne fantastique. Vous trouvez les moyens les plus étonnants de se garder pour amuser. Svp blogging ! Entendons parler de l’absurdité du voyage !

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