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Letters to the World

31-May-2003

A light-light-light-light-hearted tale of mistranslation

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:36 am

Heh. Discovered via an old Slashdot thread, and still not fixed by the Systran folks:

Try translating “Yoda had a light-saber fight in Episode Two” into French and back repeatedly via Babelfish.

Yoda had a light-saber fight in Episode Two.
Yoda a eu un combat de lumière-light-saber dans l’épisode deux.
Yoda had a combat of light-light-saber in the episode two.
Yoda a eu un combat de lumière-lumière-light-light-saber dans l’épisode deux.
Yoda had a combat of light-light-light-light-saber in the episode two.
Yoda a eu un combat de lumière-lumière-lumière-lumière-light-light-light-light-saber dans l’épisode deux.
Yoda had a combat of light-light-light-light-light-light-light-light-saber in the episode two.

Interestingly, this bug doesn’t occur if you spell it “light-sabre”. Go figure.

Also, reminiscent of the multilingual “rink” bug I mentioned a while back on my blog, if we stick only to translating from English to French and vice versa:

rink
patinoire
skating rink
patinoire de patinage
skating rink of ice-skating
patinoire de patinage du glace-patinage
skating rink of ice-skating of ice-ice-skating
patinoire de patinage du glace-patinage du glace-glace-patinage
skating rink of ice-skating of the ice-ice-skating of ice-ice-ice-skating
patinoire de patinage du glace-patinage du glace-glace-patinage du glace-glace-glace-patinage
skating rink of ice-skating of the ice-ice-skating of the ice-ice-ice-skating of ice-ice-ice-ice-skating

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