Saturday, September 09, 2006

In scoping out random web logs, I often run across blogs that are not in English (duh). Since I’m a curious sort of guy, I recently installed a gizmo on my browser that supposedly translates web pages in various languages into English. This has provided me with a lot of amusement ever since. The translations are, shall we say, cryptic at best.

Here are a couple of phrases that were translated from a web log called A Luta Do Ano!, which (hopefully) translates as the Fight of the Year! It is written in (presumably) Brazilian Portuguese by a young woman living in Rio de Janeiro called windowpane.

I find the blog sort of sad, because her “fight of the year” is apparently about losing weight, unless the translation is more off than I think. Preoccupation with weight loss is something I regret very much, and I feel like I somehow have something to do with it by simply being a part of our modern society. At any rate, the blog looked sort of interesting (and so did windowpane), so I translated it.

Some of what resulted was intelligible, some was garbled, and a few phrases struck me as intriguing and mysterious.

For instance, on many days windowpane lists “2 slices of integral bread” as part of her morning meal (?). Integral bread? I fantasize about a Calculus Café in Rio, wildly popular amongst the young doctoral candidates in mathematics (both of them). When one is presented with the check, it is in the form of



, gratuity included.

I also encountered a phrase translated as follows:

“As I am abandoned of father and mother, I had that to appeal the restaurant. How drug!”

Wow. Do orphans in Brazil get a discount on restaurant meals? How do they prove it? Is there an orphan association where they get an ID card, similar to AARP in the U.S.? Do they get discounts on auto rentals as well?

And, “How drug!” I really like that saying. It implies a certain surrealistic way of viewing the world where, for example, orphans get restaurant discounts. I like it lots better than “Dude!” or “Whoa!” Perhaps it will catch on here. I intend to start using it immediately myself.

As a final note, this is not to disparage poor windowpane’s blog. I liked it, liked her, and liked her honesty in dealing with her problems. I am only going off on the auto-translation, not on the content itself. Four Hulles Stars of Approval for windowpane and her blog.

- Hulles

1 comment:

Xiao-Tin said...

Hi,

"Que droga!" would be equivalent to something like, "DAMN IT!" It's hard to translate cuss words in other languages when you are a foreigner because you never can feel the full weight of the word and it's hard to decipher by it's allowed usage on public television. However, in translated or dubbed movies, like I said, it's usually, "DAMN IT!!" You see it on the soaps and I think I've heard my five year olds use it once or twice but that's not very telling either these days is it?

Thanks for your kind words about my blog. I will do my best to keep up with it.