Re: How factual are second-hand translations?

From: Charles D Hixson (
Date: Tue Jan 08 2002 - 20:20:35 MST

On Saturday 05 January 2002 14:06, you wrote:
> Spike Jones wrote:
> ...
> This is a very poor way to translate from one language to
> another. It is mechanical and gives funny results. Remember
> the old (joke?) of a translations of "The Spirit is willing but
> the flesh is weak" to Russian by a translation machine. The
> result supposedly came out to something like, "The Vodka is good
> but the meat is rotten."
> That is probably only a joke however, in serious translation you
> can't just look at every word. You must understand grammar,
> common phrasing, turns of speech, historical context and many
> other things to do a decent job. You need at least a 3rd year
> understanding of a language generally to translate a spoken
> sample well. So no, I don't think word by word would be at all
> reasonable.
> - samantha

That's history. That was into and back from Russian. Another one
changed "Out of sight, out of mind" into "Distant madman". That
was Chinese. These both happened during the late 1960's, however,
so they may not bear too strongly on what one should expect today.
But I haven't been following these programs, so it might.

 Charles Hixson
 Copy software legally, the GNU way!
 Use GNU software, and legally make and share copies of software.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Nov 01 2002 - 13:37:33 MST