Monday, July 31, 2006

I will bring my proper toothbrush exactly

Having English as second language means you are dependent on a good dictionary. Even then you don't get it right all the time anyway, but I take comfort in that I'm not the only one with this predicament. A friend sent a link to, a collection of funny misspellings or unfortunately formulated English phrases. Just to prove the point of how hard it is to get something right in a language you're not not fluent in (or buoyant in, as my dictionary suggests) you can try to translate an English text to Japanese on Babelfish and then translate the Japanese text back to English. I tried it with an excerpt from a job application I sent a while ago*.

"I am the Swedish counterpart to Brad Pitt. My IQ is higher than Stephen Hawkins'. I bench 300 kilos easy. I am always happy, polite and energetic. I will work 24 hours a day 7 days a week for free. I will polish your toilet with pride. I will even bring my own toothbrush. Sincerly yours. LG"

If you translate it to Japanese and then back again it reads:

"I Sweden which stops Pitt with the shellfish hooked nail am equal. Me I.Q. is higher than スティーブン Hawkins'. Kilometer easy I bench 300. I happiness and politeness am always energetic. I week 7 day 1 day 24 hour work for freedom. I polish your washroom of pride. I come having my itself toothbrush. Satoshi tool. LG"

This isn't bad. You can get a lot of inspiration when you read something that might not be exactly as you'd expect it. I particulare like the "I Sweden" (some healthy Hubris right there) and "I happiness"-bits (how could I even feel depressed again). It's also good to know that that ¤&%#¤% Hawkins might not be as polpular in Japan as elsewhere.

Babelfish of course have more options. In Russians it was put slightly different:

I will be Swedish doubles to brad Pitt. My iq is more high than Stephen Hawkins'. Stand ii1 300 kilos is light. I is always happy, politely and energetic. I will work kryglosutochno of seven days in the week for freely. I will polish your toilet with the pride. 4 even I will bring my own toothbrush. Your is sincere. LG

I can't speak for "kryglosutochno" but otherwise I don't have a problem with it.

In Chinese it became:

I am the Sweden relative people sew Pitt. My intelligence quotient Beese 蒂芬 Hawkins' is high-level. I bench 300 kilogram easy. I am always happy, politeness and energetic. My day 24 hours will work each week 7 days for to be free. I will polish you to fill the sense of pride washroom. I will even bring I toothbrush. Presents respectfully. LG

Mr Hawkins apparently not popular here either. The polishing came out a bit akward but I love the finish, presents respectfully, I'll use it as often as I can.


I am the Swedish counterparts to brad Pitt. My IQ more is raised of the one than Stephen Hawkins'. Easy bank I 300 kilos. I am always happy, polishing and energy. I will work 24 hours the one day 7 days one week for free. I will burnish its toilet with pride. I will bring my proper toothbrush exactly. Sincerely its. LG

The Portuguese being an old trade nation negotiated my offer a bit, that's natural, but as far as my equiment goes I'm sold (see headline).


Me it is a Sweden boy lattice which drives the Pitt with the nail. Me the IQ is higher the StephenHawkins than. Kilo easy i bench 300. Me is happy always, it is energetic is polite. Me the free thing will work in the hazard one day 24 hour week 7th matter which will reach. Me will wipe your toilet in pride. Even me of my, oneself will bring the toothbrush. It is diligent and sincere, you. LG

As I've written earlier, Pitt is Swedish slang for penis which makes the first sentence kind of painful (specially with the lattice part). And If I were an employer I would be a bit confused with my working hours. Me o my.

And finally German:

I am the Swedish counterparts to the nail without head Pitt. My IQ is higher than Stephen Hawkins'. Bank I 300 Kilos simply. I am always lucky energetically, polite and. I work 24 hours per day 7 days in the week for free. I polish your toilet with pride. I get even my own toothbrush. Yours sincerely. LG

Mental note: do not get involved in discussions about Stephen Hawkins in China or Japan, or discussions about Brad Pitt in Germany. If I unintentionally offend someone they might get even with me with my own toothbrush. Even if I did see Brokeback Mountain yesterday I can't think of it as "lucky energetically"


*This is in no way an attempt to ridicule Japan or Japanese or any other nation or language (well, maybe the Germans) or anyone's (dis)ability to write proper English. I'll be front center at the wall where misspellers will be shot when the ProperEnglish Revolution comes. And yes, maybe I did a bit of alterations from the original application, but the major points are still there.


Anonymous said...

Heh, this post cracked me up.

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