Babelfishy Occurrence Tunes Me Positively

Earlier today I sang the praises of a kindly German developer, Christian Spannagel, who wrote a search plugin that I’d been wanting. Shortly afterward, he wrote his own blog posting about the plugin, and our interactions which led to its creation.

See: “ My furl archive search plugin” – the title is in English, but the posting is in German.

Now, like most Americans, I’m embarrassingly mono-lingual. Since I don’t read German, I turned to the quirkly automated translation tool, Babelfish, which is always a linguistic adventure. In this case, Babelfish served up a phrase I adore…

The lead of Christian’s article says it all: “I love community.”

He then recounted how he read in Contentious about my desire for a Firefox seach toolbar plugin that would allow me to search the contents of my personal archive on Furl. That made him curious about Furl, and he soon became an avid user of that free online service. Once he got hooked on Furl, he too felt a need for the kind of search tool I described. So he built it. Then he told me about it, and I helped him with the testing. Now it’s available for everyone.

Babelfish translated the next-to-last line of his posting as “Such occurrences tune me positively.”

I don’t know whether that’s a literal translation of a German idiomatic expression, or a uniquely Babelfishy phrase, but either way, I really like it.

I love community, too. Such occurrences definitely tune me positively.

5 thoughts on Babelfishy Occurrence Tunes Me Positively

  1. Well, I’m glad Babelfish communicated the gist of your article well. But I was especially touched by the musical connotations of “tune me positively.” Sounds harmonious. I like that 🙂

    – Amy Gahran
    Editor, Contentious

  2. Earlier this month I linked to a German blog. Afterwards I looked into several online translation tools ( Google, AJAX Translator and WorldLingo) to see which came closest to accurately translating the words, as well as the tone and the feel, of the original post. Since Iâ??m fluent in German, I could tell that none of the tools correctly stated what the blogger wrote. This may have been due to the bloggerâ??s casual phrasing. But given bloggersâ?? general avoidance of stilted, corporate-sounding language, Iâ??d say that these translation tools shouldnâ??t be relied on exclusively when accuracy is important.

  3. I recently researched translation for an article I wrote, and the conclusion I came to is that machine translation services like Babelfish are only good to give you–at best–the gist of the text. I think it’s safe to say that syntax, grammar, and idiom differences between languages will keep human translators in business for some time.

  4. Pingback: - Jott: Auto-Transcription as Entertainment

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