Field of Science

Language Games

Translation Party

Idea: type in sentence in English. The site then queries Google Translator, translating into Japanese and then back again until it reaches "equilibrium," where the sentence you get out is the sentence you put in. Some sentences just never converge. Ten points to whoever finds the most interesting non-convergence.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mind your own beeswax = Thanks for nothing

Anonymous said...

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar = equilibrium doubtful

Nick said...

Colorless green dreams sleep furiously. --> Colorless green dreams sleep is difficult.

Nick said...

The early bird may catch the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

-->

2 The second cheese is not involved in the initial Mausuwamu.

Nick said...

I'm straight up gangster, bitch!

-->

I'm straight gang, you bitch!

Dexter Edge said...

At my blog, I've got some results (all of which converged quickly) for the opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice:

http://idiography.blogspot.com/2010/07/fun-with-google-translate.html

GamesWithWords said...

Current leader has got to be the Chomsky quote -- meta is worth many points.

Dexter Edge said...

I don't see how anyone could beat the Chomsky for meta.

(Well, actually I have an idea...)

In the meantime: "I want you to squeeze my lemon until the juice runs down my leg," from Robert Johnson's "Travelling Riverside Blues" seems to fall into a kind of "repeating decimal" (in the Japanese version of the game), alternating (apparently forever) between:

"You can not squeeze my feet I think lemon Ofujusu"

and

"You can not squeeze a lemon I think my leg Ofujusu"

Dexter Edge said...

I was hoping for some meta points, so I tried "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," because it's the subject of the most famous (and ancient) machine translation joke.

Unfortunately, it settles after only five iterations:

The spirit is willing, flesh weak

Heat mind, weak in the flesh

Heat mind of the flesh weak

The flesh is weak dedicated

Own flesh is weak

[This repeats]

Oh well...

Nick said...

From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

-->

The most beautiful and infinite goodness, to start the evolution of the form author.

-->


It is doubtful that this phrase will ever reach equilibrium.

Christopher Taylor said...

"riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."
-->
"Adam Ibusanribaran Enbironzubakku Kyassurukobuhomu we have not please please see may be different for each cycle. commodius vicus was to find information."

GamesWithWords said...

Christopher: all I can say is "wow". What is "Ibusanribaran Enbironzubakku Kyassurukobuhomu" anyway? Google is perplexed, so I'm assuming it's Japanese (looks syllabic, anyway)/

Q. Pheevr said...

Here's a sentence from a 2008 article by Larry Hyman that Translation Party thinks will not reach equilibrium:

"Before addressing this question, let us address an even more basic question which we have simply assumed: Why do all languages have consonants and vowels?"

The last English version before TP gives up is:

"The problem is to perform the contract issues before using a root cause of the author: If you know me, I vowels, I do not think all languages, it consonant?"

But the last two or three versions were starting to look pretty similar to one another, so I tried feeding in the last version as the input to a new round. Again, TP said it was unlikely to converge, and indeed it managed to change quite a lot in the course of the new iterations, ending up at:

"I am a subscriber consonants and vowels of all languages: You mean if you know me, what is the problem that is estimated to run before using the root cause of the problem?"

Anonymous said...

To be, or not to be -- that is the question.

Equilibrium doubtful.

Q. Pheevr said...

Update: After a couple more passes, the Hyman sentence does finally converg on this:

"All subscribers are used to route any consonant: I was going wrong before vowel language? No problem!"

GamesWithWords said...

It seems that "Gavagai!" reaches equilibrium quickly: Gavagai!. So I guess Quine was wrong about that one.

outerhoard said...

You want something that certainly doesn't reach equilibrium? Try: "That's not what I said."

(I'm not going to tell you what happens: it has to be seen. Please remember to include the full stop or it won't work.)

Nora said...

Had to put the lines in one at a time, but:
"I got the style, but not the grace! I got the clothes, but not the face, I got the bread, but not the butter; I got the window but not the shutter. But I'm big in Japan, I'm big in Japan. But hey I'm big in Japan."

Becomes: The interior is not my style! I can not wear it. I do not have a window shutter. But I'm big in Japan, I'm big in Japan. But hey I'm big in Japan.