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| Google Translates Irish
Posted: 07-Sep-2009, 07:32 PM
Group: Celtic Nation
Realm: New York
| The Little Prince -- French dedication:
Je demande pardon aux enfants d'avoir dédié ce livre à une grande personne. J'ai une excuse sérieuse : cette grande personne est le meilleur ami que j'ai au monde. J'ai une autre excuse : cette grande personne peut tout comprendre, même les livres pour enfants. J'ai une troisième excuse : cette grande personne habite la France où elle a faim et froid. Elle a besoin d'être consolée. Si toutes ces excuses ne suffisent pas, je veux bien dédier ce livre à l'enfant qu'a été autrefois cette grande personne. Toutes les grandes personnes ont d'abord été des enfants. (Mais peu d'entre elles s'en souviennent.) Je corrige donc ma dédicace :
I ask forgiveness for children to have dedicated this book to a great person. I have a serious reason: this grown-up is the best friend I have in the world. I have another excuse: this grown-up understands everything, even books for children. I have a third reason: he lives in France where she is hungry and cold. It needs to be comforted. If all these excuses are not enough, I want to dedicate this book to the child whom this grown-up. All adults were first children. (But few of them remember it.) I correct my dedication:
This wasn't too bad . . . it screwed up a preposition, few pronouns, and left off a piece of the fourth to last sentence. But this is a very simple text (the dedication from The Little Prince).
Ich bitte die Kinder um Verzeihung, daß ich dieses Buch einem Erwachsenen widme. Ich habe eine ernstliche Entschuldigung dafür: Dieser Erwachsene ist der beste Freund, den ich in der Welt habe. Ich habe noch eine Entschuldigung: Dieser Erwachsene kann alles verstehen, sogar die Bücher für Kinder. Ich habe eine dritte Entschuldigung: Dieser Erwachsene wohnt in Frankreich, wo er hungert und friert. Er braucht sehr notwendig einen Trost. Wenn alle diese Entschuldigungen nicht ausreichen, so will ich dieses Buch dem Kinde widmen, das dieser Erwachsene einst war. Alle großen Leute sind einmal Kinder gewesen (aber wenige erinnern sich daran). Ich verbessere also meine Widmung:
I ask the children about forgiveness, that I dedicate this book to an adult. I have a serious reason: That he is the best friend I have in the world. I have another reason: this grown-up understands everything, even books for children. I have a third reason: It lives in France, where he is hungry and cold. He needs cheering up. If all of these reasons are not enough, so I want to dedicate this book to the child whom this grown-up grew. All grown-ups were once children (but few remember it). So I correct my dedication:
A little rougher in the opening. It should say something like: "I beg the children's pardon that I am dedicating this book to a grownup." I suspect this translation made use of English for this well known book that's already on the web, since the sentences after the opening are almost identical to the translation of the french, and neither of them is very literal. For example, neither "excuse" in french or "Entschuldigung" in german means "reason;" it should be "excuse," as in an explanation that lets you off the hook. So -- for a known text, it seems Google has a better chance; for an original text that has just been created, maybe not good at all. Eh bien -- it plagiarizes about as efficiently as the majority of my students.
I think part of the problem is that you can't teach a program these human linguistic things like metaphor and humor, and even giving it a lexicon for idiom is very, very time consuming. This one from The Little Prince stuck very close to the words that appear in some form in both languages and did OK, but it got flummoxed even around the little connnecting words. Idiom is hard, and figurative language is never going to be possible.
Posted: 08-Sep-2009, 12:39 AM
Group: Celtic Nation
Realm: Portland, Oregon
Thanks for the examples! The Little Prince is still as of today one of my favorite books. My son has mine, the cloth bound book that was given to me as a little girl, and I also bought him the English translation.
I tried to find a translation for Rainer Maria Rilke's "Autumn Day" once.
This translation is by M. D. Herter Norton 1938:
Lord, it is time. The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials,
and on the meadows let the winds go loose.
Command the last fruits that they shall be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
urge them on to fulfillment and drive
the last sweetness into heavy wine.
Who has no house now, will build him one no more.
Who is alone now, long will so remain,
will wake, read, write long letters
and will in the avenues to and fro
restlessly wander, when the leaves are blowing.
Now on to Edward Snow 1991:
Lord: it is time. The summer was immense.
Lay your long shadows on the sundials,
and on the meadows let the winds go free.
Command the last fruits to be full;
give them just two more southern days,
urge them on to completion and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.
Who has no house now, will never build one.
Who is alone now, will long remain so,
will stay awake, read, write long letters
and will wander restlessly up and down
the tree-lines streets, when the leaves are drifting.
Both are very good translations and come word by word very close to the original.
Compare now with this one by Robert Bly 1981:
Oh Lord, it's time, it's time. It was a great summer.
Lay your shadow now on the sundials,
and on the open fields let the winds go!
Give the tardy fruits the command to fill;
give them two more Mediterranian days,
drive them on into their greatness, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house by now will not build.
Whoever is alone now, will remain alone,
will wait up, read, write long letters,
and walk along sidewalks under large trees,
not going home, as the leaves fall and blow away.
And here is the final one by Albert Ernest Flemming 1983. This is the "translation" I like the best! Even though it is not a word by word translation, it has Rilke's soul in it and touches me the most:
Lord, it is time. The summer's greatness ended.
Cast down upon the sundials cooling shades
and let the winds blow wild across the fields.
Command those tardy grapes to speed their ripening -
bless them with two more days of warming sun -
urge them to reach perfection, gain in the sweetness -
that final heavy richness - on the vine.
Who's homeless now will never built a house.
Who's all alone will now so long remain,
will wake, will read and write long, lonely letters
and wander aimlessly through empty streets
and find no solace in the windblown leaves.
Drumroll now, here is the translation by google:
Lord, it's time. The summer was very big.
Put your shadow on the sundials,
and in the hallways, the winds let go.
Came over the last fruit to be filled;
Give them another two more southerly days,
They urge toward completion and chase
the last sweetness into the heavy wine.
Whoever has no house, no longer builds.
Whoever is alone now will remain so long
monitor will read, write long letters
and in the alleys and forth
restlessly wander when driving the leaves.
Poetry is one of the hardest things to translate, whether it is being done by a human or by a program. As you pointed out, the program does not recognize humor or any other feelings.
From the Irish Central Website:
“The main stumbling block would be colloquialisms. There are lots of ways in which people speak,” he said. “It’s not really meant to let you read novels in other languages, it won’t be able to do that, but it will allow you to read webpages for information.”
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