Friday, November 28

Silly translations

Since I do some work on software translation, I have seen my fair share of silly translations (in my case from English to Lithuanian). Here's my latest find: in Gmail there is a choice of chat list for every person in the address book, and there are four options: Auto, Always, Never, and Block. The Lithuanian translation of the option "Auto" is ... "Automobiliai" which means "Cars". Took me a while to figure out what happened the first time I saw it. This ranks right next to the already classic wizzard button translation "Kitas", "Kitas", "Suomių" for "Next", "Next", "Finish" (translated back to English that would be "Next", "Next", "Finnish" – as the language of Finns) and my personal favourite: Finnish translated as "Finikiečių" (Phoenician).

FWIW I tried to apply for access to Gmail translations (there are many more inconsistencies, mistakes and screwups in there), but it seems that Google is not interested. I wonder if they have any translation quality control at all.

4 comments:

yfyf said...

It seems that Google has started using http://translate.google.com/translate_t#lt|en| for instant English->Lithuanian translation and it produces results quite interesting. Try it out. I especially enjoy it the other way round, that is Lithuanian->English translations. For instance of Lithuanian poetry or any fiction for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Not as silly as provided examples, but Lithuanian version of gmail.com has a title of ' "Gmail": el. laiškas iš "Google" ' or ' "Gmail": e-letter from "Google"', quite sure what they wanted was 'Gmail: Email from Google
'.

(Besides, shouldn't you use a dash instead of a colon in Lithuanian version?)

Jurij said...

After some nagging "Automobiliai" has been changed to "Automatiškai" :-). I also sent you an email a while ago suggesting to let me know if you encounter any problems with Lithuanian translations, try searching your mailbox for my name.

Julija said...

Šakės.. :))