Ever wonder if you should save some money by using Google Translate instead of a professional human translator? If the text is anything important, then you probably shouldn’t.
The technology is impressive, but it’s not yet ready to replace humans. As a fun example of why I say this, consider what happens when you use Google Translate to translate the lyrics of Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s Takin’ Care of Business into Russian and then back into English.
Original lyrics in English
English to Russian and back (via Google Translate)
You get up every morning from your alarm clock’s warning Take the 8:15 into the city There’s a whistle up above and people pushin’, people shovin’ And the girls, who try to look pretty
You get up every morning with a warning on the Service in Take the 8:15 into the city There’s a whistle at the top and the people pushin ‘people shovin’ And girls who try to look pretty
And if your train’s on time, you can get to work by nine And start your slaving job to get your pay If you ever get annoyed, look at me, I’m self-employed I love to work at nothing all day
And if your train is on time, you can get to work by nine And start your slaving job to get their salaries If you ever annoyed, look at me, I’m self-employed I love working for the whole day nothing
And I’ll be takin’ care of business every day Takin’ care of business every way I’ve been takin’ care of business, it’s all mine Takin’ care of business and working overtime, work out
And I’ll be takin care of business every day Care Takin ‘business in all respects I’m taking care of business, it’s all mine Care Takin ‘business and working overtime, work out
If it were easy as fishin’, you could be a musician If you could make sounds loud or mellow Get a second-hand guitar, chances are you’ll go far If you get in with the right bunch of fellows
If it were easy, like Fishin ‘, you could be a musician If you could make sounds loud or mellow Get a used guitar, chances are you will go far If you get the right bunch of fellows
This is taken a bit further with Adele’s “Hello” in the following video by Malinda Kathleen Reese.
Here are a few of the gems found on page 101. Enjoy!
On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: “Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.”
On the door of a Moscow hotel room: “If this is your first visit to Russia, you are welcome to it.”
In the office of a Roman doctor: “Specialist in women and other diseases.”
From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo: “When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.”
What’s the funniest (or most catastrophic) mistranslation that you’ve come across?