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Fun with Proverbs in Google Translate

with 5 comments

I love proverbs. They can describe in one line, what at times, cannot be explained in one hundred. However, in this age of globalisation, we must make sure that everybody in the world gets the message in the same clear and concise way. Since this is the age of the internet; and the internet has provided us tools like Google Translate, I tried to experiment a little. After writing this blog’s previous post, I started to wonder that if I were to deliver such a message to a foreign friend of mine, would Google Translate be reliable enough for the job? So I took some common english proverbs, put them in the ‘ol Google Translator, set the destination language to Japanese and hit ‘Translate’. Since I don’t know any Japanese people, I had to do the checking myself. So I opened another tab and reversed the languages. The results that came out were hardly proverbial. Here is a look at what your wise and philosophical sayings might sound like to a foreign friend. As I kept going, I kept experimenting with other languages.  Have fun saying these to people:

A rolling stone gathers no moss: Rolling Stone to gather moss

A leopard cannot change its spots: Attractions leopard can not change.

A picture paints a thousand words: To paint a picture SHIKAZU

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy: All work and play just boring boy Jack

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: Beauty, AIOBUZABIHORUDA

Curiosity killed the cat: Curiosity is one of poison

Do as you would be done by: So do the same to be held

Familiarity breeds contempt: Introduction breeds contempt

Introduction breeds Contempt

Introduction breeds Contempt

He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword: He who dies in life like the sword of the sword

History repeats itself: Time, history itself

Honesty is the best policy: Frankly, the best way

If you believe everything you read, you better not read: If you feel that you read all the better to read

If you would enjoy the fruit, pluck not the flower: If you enjoy the flowers, no courage
If you enjoy the flowers, no courage

If you enjoy the flowers, no courage

It is easier to get forgiveness than permission: Getting a permission can not imagine a more heinous

It is what is in the mind when sober, that comes out of the mouth when drunk: What is this when the heart is serious, that comes out of the mouth when drunk

Lightning never strikes twice in the same place: Lightning and two attacks in one place
Judging by the above results, Google Translate is clearly not able to render proverbs that my foreign friend can easily understand. So remember that we shall not have truly globalised until we cross-proverbise.
Have fun!

Written by parrymathur

August 26, 2008 at 1320

5 Responses

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  1. Machine translation systems demonstrate their weaknessness with regards to accurately rendering the source message in another language.

    I would advise against it if what you’re translating is intended ultimately for publication.


    September 3, 2008 at 2107

  2. spare the rod and spoil the child


    March 22, 2011 at 1959

  3. proverbs


    March 22, 2011 at 2000

  4. One today is worth two tomorrow


    March 22, 2011 at 2003

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