Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sigh, religion of the crate!

Finding myself bored this evening, and wanting to beat back for a few minutes the encroaching shadows of melancholy, I decided to amuse myself with a game of Babble. You can do this with any online translation program: I prefer Altavista's Babelfish.

Now, you don't necessarily have to play this game to produce unintentionally hilarious translations. For instance, a straightforward sentence in a German newspaper was properly translated by my Lang-o-brainiac into plain English: "Someone who stands up for social justice doesn't have to go around in sackcloth and ashes" ("Wer sich für soziale Gerechtigkeit einsetzt, muß nicht in Sack und Asche gehen"). But Babelfish was confounded by the syntax, so it came out as, "who uses itself, does not have for social justice not into bag and ash said to go!"

My mom always warned me that who uses itself does not into bag and ash said to go.

But back to our game. To play Babble, find a fairly cogent text, then toss it back and forth from one language to another, until finally you produce a gem of pure gibberish. So this is the text I chose:
Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. Karl Marx, 1843
English-German-English
Pious suffering is simultaneous, the expression of the material suffering and a protest against material suffering. Religion is the sigh of the suppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
That was too much like the original! And it more or less made sense. So I tried again.

English-Portuguese-English
The suffering pious is simultaneous, the expression of the suffering of the material and a protest of meeting to the material suffering. The religion is sigh of the suppressed creature, the heart of a world heartless and of the soul of circumstances soulless. He is opium of the peoples.
The syntax is beginning to wobble a bit, and there's just a hint of aphasia: "a protest of meeting to the material suffering." But I wanted total unintelligibility, so I forged ahead.

English-Greek-English-Russian-French-English
The drawer simultaneous difficulties, the expression of the equipment for you you took difficulties and a protest around for comes to the contact to with for him dances the drawer material difficulties. The drawer religion sigh that are avoided the drawer of the creature of the heart of the world and of the circumstance. It is the population opium.
We're beginning here to babble incoherently, and it's almost time to fetch the saliva bucket, but it's not yet in the bag and ash. There are still hints of intelligibility here and there. More work to be done.

English-Russian-English-Dutch-French-Dutch-Russian-German-English
The simultaneous difficulties of the crate the expression of the relative equipment for you have it the permitted difficulties, and this on the part of approximate in contact the equipment of the protests of the crate dance the relative difficulty with it. Sighs the religion of the crate, he is avoided in the crate of the creature of the heart of the peace and the circumstance. This opium of the population.
Eureka! Now, THAT is a true muddle of babble, a mumbo jumbo of blathering hugger-mugger. And yet, you can still feel empathy for the crate, which (I assume) is creaking under the weight of too much relative equipment. Dance the relative difficulty with it! Sigh with the religion of the crate! The poor thing is avoided even in the crate of the creature of the heart of the peace and the cirumstance! O ungrateful creature of the heart! O world! O humanity! This injustice! This opium of the population!

2 Comments:

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Rudy said...

Babble also shows how President Bush's rhetoric on the war on terror translates differently in the "Coalition of the Willing" and the obstructionist nations who failed to support us. I think it points to inherent defects in the "unwilling" languages which garbles the President's plain speech. Here's the President's text, from a recent speech to the families of Iowa national guard units fighting in Iraq:

"The battle lines in Iraq are now clearly drawn for the world to see, and there is no middle ground. Transforming a country that was ruled by an oppressive dictator who sponsored terror into a free nation that is an ally in the war on terror will take more time, more sacrifice, and continued resolve."

But here's how that same text is understand after filtered through the "unwilling" languages of French, German and Russian:

"Of the line of battle in Iraq one with clarity therefore with peace there now drawn and, on I eat the position of a compromise they see. Is convinced the conversion of the country terror dictator, after it gave, that one which forced it under water in order to establish, which financed in the nation freely, it was, which compulsorily it causes, it to the higher part the procedure of war on the terror is more in order to fasten as it time more than victim and continuous statement."

And here's how the same text reads when filtered through Dutch-Greek-Portuguese-Spanish-Italian:

"The lines of the battle in Iraq that on the hour had appeared for where the world do not examine of course in the order and in no Earth center it is. Dumb a country that if he with the oppressive insurance of the dictator who to the interior of the supported free nation that this it happens in the form to the source of the interior to an alliance if in the war more time, more sacrifice is the system to ignite continuously leaked."

They understand that that the system to ignite continuously leaked if in the war more time, more sacrifice.

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger DCH said...

Awesome, I play the babble fish game a lot. You have a kick ass blog too. Good job on the word verification, I hate spammers.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

Religious Right, Religious Right, Religious Right, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pat Robertson, Pat Robertson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Jerry Falwell, Jerry Falwell, Left Party, Left Party, Left Party, Gregor Gysi, Gregor Gysi, Gregor Gysi, Oskar Lafontaine, Oskar Lafontaine, Oskar Lafontaine, Germany, Germany, Germany, Andy Lang, Andy Lang, Andrew Lang, Andrew Lang, Andrew Lang, war in Iraq, war in Iraq, war in Iraq, Iraq war, Iraq war, science fiction, science fiction, science fiction, fantasy, fantasy, fantasy, Religious Right, Religious Right, Linkspartei, Linkspartei, Linkspartei, Die Linke, Die Linke, Die Linke, DEFA, DEFA, DEFA, Kurt Maetzig, Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler, Theodor Adorno, Leonard Bernstein, Leon Botstein, Aaron Copland, Konrad Wolf, Markus Wolf, Ernst Hermann Meyer, Peter Schreier, Theo Adam, Kreuzchor, Thomanerchor, Staatskapelle Berlin, Staatskapelle Dresden, Debrecen, Kurt Mazur, Gewandhaus, DDR, DDR, DDR, Deutsche Demokratische Republik, East Germany, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Monthly Review, The Nation, Bertolt Brecht, Weimar Republic, Karl Barth, University of Berlin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Peter Schneider, spirituality, spirituality, spirituality, ethics, ethics, ethics, culture, culture, culture, music, music, music, church, church, church, generous orthodoxy, generous orthodoxy, United Church of Christ, United Church of Christ, Episcopal Church, theology, theology, theology, Karl Barth, Karl Barth, Karl Barth, Confessing Christ, Confessing Church, Confessing Church, Confessing Church, Barmen Declaration, Barmen Declaration, Barmen Declaration, status confessionis, status confessionis, status confessionis, Third Way, Third Way, Third Way, homosexuality, homosexuality, homosexuality, homosexuality, gay marriage, same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, civil unions, holy unions, homosexual marriage, heterosexual marriage, same-sex marriage and the bible, gay, gay, gay theology, gay theology, gay theology, queer theology, queer theology, queer theology, gays and religion, lectio divina, lectio divina, lectio divina, humor, humor, humor, sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm, red state, red state, red state, socialism, socialism, socialism, weimar republic, weimar republic, weimar republic, germany, germany, germany, german, german, german, linkspartei, linkspartei, linkspartei, die linke, die linke, die linke, left party, left party, left party, gays in the church, gays in the church, gays in the church, same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, same-sex relationships, same-sex unions, civil unions, holy unions, Book of Worship, Book of Common Prayer, gay marriage, bible and homosexuality, bible and homosexuality, bible and homosexuality, gays in ministry, homosexual agenda, gay agenda United Church of Christ