Yo no speak-o Spanish-o

18 07 2003

I thought I would be really clever and impress Grace, so I wrote a little e-mail, plugged it into the translator on dictionary.com, and sent her the Spanish version. Knowing the translator would be rather unsophisticated, I tried to keep my message simple in structure and content. I received the following response from Grace:

Madre mia, Buen uso de las palabras, pero fue en poco dificil para leer porque los simbolos espanoles, por cualquier razon, no funciona y hay muchas simbolos extranos entre de las palabras de su carta. Necesito ir al clase muy pronto, pero solomente queria decier que no estoy muy nostaligica… es dificil para describir todo que estoy experienciendo, y por eso, es dificil para hablar por telefono con ustedes. Pero, me alegre mucho cuando tu llamas… entonces, por favor, haga lo! Te amo mucho mucho muchisimo, Grace

Smug in my self-satisfaction, I copied and pasted her missive into the translator. This is what I got back:

Mother mia, Good use of the words, but was in little dificil reading because the simbolos espanoles, for any reason, does not work and is many extranos simbolos between of the words of her letter. I need to go in a moment to the class, but single queria to decier that I am not very nostaligica… is dificil to describe everything that I am experienciendo, and for that reason, he is dificil to speak by I telephone with you. But, she cheers much to me when your flames… then, please, do! I love much much to you muchisimo, Grace

OMIGOSH! I was already cracking up as I read, and then I got to “she cheers much to me when your flames… then, please, do!” That is so great! LOL! Even with my limited knowledge of Spanish, I could tell that sentence said, “But, it makes me very happy when you call… so, please, do!” What kind of translator turns “llamas” into “flames”???

Well, that was a failed experiment, but good for a jolly laugh. It reminds me of those signs you hear about overseas posted in hotels and restaurants . . . you know, the ones that lose a LOT in the translation, but end up hilariously funny. Can anyone recall any of those? Feel free to post them in response to this if you do!

So, I thought you people out in cyberville would enjoy that little episode. Hope you all have a splendid weekend!

♥ EZ



5 responses

18 07 2003


I’m familiar with the hilarity of Babblefish-type translations translated back into the original language. It’s way, way off!

I had to write a note to my new housekeeper, who speaks virtually no English. I typed it, making it as brief and simple as possible, then ran it through Babblefish. I knew from past experience I better translate that Spanish into English to see if it made sense. It did not. So I rephrased it, ran it through again, then put it into English again. It was getting better.

Finally, after five tries, I had a message in Spanish that actually said what I wanted it to say in English, pretty much.

I handed it to her with a great flourish, she glanced at it briefly, and said, “Oh. Okay!” And I thought to myself, “Why in the world did I go through all that rigamarole? I could have pantomimed everything easier.

Luckily her daughter and son are in elementary and junior high school here and speak perfect English. (I still can’t believe she hasn’t wanted to learn.)

Babblefish is a hoot!

19 07 2003

(Sniff) I love that song!

19 07 2003

Yeah … you’ve got to be careful with those translator programs. A simple greeting can come across as an accusation about one’s questionable parentage. Eek!

19 07 2003

Re: Ha!

I didn’t think to plug the Spanish translation to my original e-mail back in and see how it came out in English the second time.

Grace didn’t use a translator, because she knows Spanish. So, she just read my e-mail and then responded. I’m sure her Spanish was correct. It just came out goofy in the translation (which I forwarded to her for her amusement.)

If I ever try another similar scheme, I’ll translate the translation to be sure it works! I should have thought of that — guess I wasn’t so clever after all. :o)

19 07 2003

The lovers, the dreamers, and . . .

you! It is a sweet song, isn’t it?

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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