Friday, January 20, 2006

The Entropy of Online Translation

AltaVista's Babel Fish Translation tool can certainly be handy in a pinch. Not surprisingly though, as many are aware, the system is irreversible. That is to say, you can't translate from, say, English to German and then back to English expecting a pristine backward translation. And as it turns out, not only is it not perfect, but the results can be really fucked up and downright high-larious.

So, I thought we'd have a little contest on this lovely Friday. Really simple - I will take a few verses of a song, rock a little Babel Fish double translation, and you folks guess the tune and artist in the comments section. First one to get all five wins a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card. So rouse yourself from that hangover, pop a few Advil, and get crackin'.

Here are five songs, going from easy to hard. I'll stick with 60s, 70s, and 80s for this one.

Song #1

"Hello the dark, my old friend. I have come to speak again with you."

Song #2

"Once on a time you dressed so very well. You sent the vague ones to the currency of ten cents in your premium, not you?"

Song #3

"And I am going to keep in loving to him. Because it is the only thing I wish to do. Desire not to sleep. Hardly desire to keep in loving to him."

Song #4

"Desire to oscillate now. I am base of the robbery and I came to obtain down. Internationally they do not know me, but that knows me to oscillate the microphone."

Song #5

"We are one sells American. We are one sells American. We are coming to its city. We will help party him that swallows. We are one sells American."

If you think you have all five, and would like to qualify for the gift certificate, you must include your email address with your guesses. If that freaks you out, go get a fake address from Hotmail or Yahoo.

Aight kids, the comments section is all yours.


At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, i know i don't have all five, and i'm making up some song titles, but still...

1. sound of silence, simon & garfunkel
2. major tom, david bowie
3. keep on loving you, reo speedwagon
4. ?, beastie boys
5. we're an american band, ?

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I kind of feel a little nerdy right now--

1. Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkle
2. Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
3. Keep on Loving You, REO Speedwagon
4. Mama Said Knock You Out, L.L. Cool J
5. Coming to America, Neil Diamond

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(1) sound of silence, simon and garfunkel
(2) Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
(3) Keep on Loving you, REO Speedwagon
(4)It Takes Two, Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock
(5) We're an American Band, Grand Funk Railroad

Mary O.

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The next contest should be nursery rhymes.

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“The Sound of Silence,” Simon & Garfunkle

“Like a Rolling Stone,” Bob Dylan

“Keep on Loving You,” REO Speedwagon

“Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” C+C Music Factory

“We’re an America Band,” Grand Funk Railroad

At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

reminds me of everything is illuminated by jonathan sfran foer

At 7:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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