Sunday, 15 January 2012

Are your eyebrows dying? The dangers of instant translations.

There are many useful tools available on the internet, one is the automatic language translation software. I have a YouTube channel and often receive messages in foreign (to me) languages and by using the translation sites, I know within seconds whether the message is nice or nasty.  All you need to do is go onto one of the translations sites, cut and paste a piece of text written in a language you don't understand and either choose the language if you know what it is or leave the software to figure it out.  Simply press 'translate' and the software gives the translation in English. Or vice versa.  So far its been great for short sentences or greetings but anything more and the results are, well, sub-optimal.  Given a larger paragraph, the translation sites translate literally from the selected language into English.  Often this is sufficient and with a bit of thought the meaning can be decoded but unfortunately many times the output is a stew of unrelated, and often amusing, English sentences that leave the reader no wiser than before.
While probably not done by computer software, you only have to look at the name boards outside some of the shops here (Doha) and in the UAE to see the danger of taking easy translations at face value.  There are endless examples where an Arabic or Hindi business name has been translated word for literal word, into English.  The translators seem to be unaware that to anyone with more than schoolyard English, the business name is either nonsensical eg “Travel and Walk Rent a Car” or amusing eg 'Riff Raff Tailors', the mattress shop called “JoySleep” and the oddly named 'Moist Flower Electronics', then there's the, never fails to amuse, 'Parking at Backside' signs or the vaguely lewd eg 'Fanny International' or 'Gang Massage'.
All this was brought to mind by a local beauty saloon (yes its spelt 'saloon') that's opened up down the road.  Below are some pages from their price list.  The price list proves that accepting the output from someone who says they 'know English' or running it through Google Translate/Babelfish/Bing can be a dangerous thing to do. I don't know about you, but I am intrigued by the Swishing Programme though I don't fancy cooking any Egyptians thanks.

 Moving onto Page 2 where we meet the Department of Cleaning the Skin which offers a session wrinkled skin, though they don't specify whether that removes or adds wrinkles.  Feeling energetic? Maybe you need the skin exhausting session.  And what the erecta is, well, I hate to think but its possibly illegal here.

Moving onto the next page and I'll leave it to you to enjoy in peace.  Its wonderful.

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