If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Friday, 18 February 2011

The Perils of Internet Translation

I'm beginning to regret posting a kit report on my recent torch purchase. It has attracted a large number of spam comments, all from the same Australian company, all advertising the virtues of Maglites, and all written in very bad English. I've reported the originator to Blogger, I have left foul and threatening messages on his own blog (one post, 18 months ago, with a comments thread as long as your arm, all saying the same thing: get lost), and I have deleted all the comments without publishing. As the post is over 14 days old, they all come for moderation anyway, so it's no problem.

The first comments were, I think, automatically generated, as the post specifically mentions 'Maglite', and Maglites are what he is selling. All were along the lines of "yes, that is good torch, but I like Maglite torches, they very robust are". But then one came in last night which I thought was written by a human, as it (however wierdly) refers to the context of the post (in a bike blog) as well as the product. The writer calls himself 'German' and the post reads like either bad English from a German, or good German badly auto-translated. I think it's rather charming:
I've ever pioneer the corner of Halfords where they donjon the multipacks of fasteners, washers, electrical connections and added much items to be an extremely multipurpose base. Plus, I do quite measure their slave division.That's an brilliant mullein...two of those strapped to the advance of my Kwak would belike improve dark travel no end!
But then it sort of rang a bell, and I went back to the original post. The first comment was from endemoniada_88:
I've always found the corner of Halfords where they keep the multipacks of fasteners, washers, electrical connections and other such items to be an extremely useful place. Plus, I do quite rate their tool section.

That's an impressive torch...two of those strapped to the front of my Kwak would probably improve night riding no end!
I prefer "belike improve dark travel" myself ...


  1. As an erstwhile fan of castles and knights (all passed on to younger relatives, alas) I like that translation of donjon for keep. An alternative spelling of dungeon, although the donjon would be in the bowels of the keep.

  2. 'Donjon' always makes me think of Norman-French nastiness, like that other architectural feature, the 'oubliette'.

    I liked "slave" for "tool" as well. An insight into the Teutonic mind?

  3. Reads like a set of Tamiya model instructions, which always seemed to get translated by someone who only owned a Japanese-Spanish and Spanish-English dictionary. They too had a weird but quite elegant way of reading, if not a particularly helpful one.

    Anyway, I shall now point the advance of my Kwak towards the Halfords slave division: hopefully there'll be some half-price bargains in the "pleasure" category...

  4. I remember a a manual with a projector that I bought contained the interesting info,

    "Fan turns keeping transistors in good condition"


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