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In the Translation Lost Is the Poetry of It Now

By Vladimir Zelevinsky
Staff Reporter

According to somebody famous, "poetry is what is lost in the translation." Your faithful servant decided, in a true scientific spirit, not to take this statement for granted, and performed a simple check. He submitted the following well-known poem to a web-based translation service at http://babelfish.altavista.digital.com/ cgi-bin/translate?, and used it to translate the text into five different languages. After that, the text was translated back into English, using the same translation engine. The curious results are presented below. The titles are provided by your faithful servant.

ENGLISH

"From Mother Goose"

The Queen of Hearts,

she made some tarts,

all on a summer's day.

The Knave of Hearts,

he stole the tarts

and took them clean away.

The King of Hearts

called for the tarts

and beat the Knave full sore.

The Knave of Hearts

brought back the tarts

and vowed he'd steal no more.

ENGLISH PORTUGUESE ENGLISH

"Hold on to your fez"

The queen of the hearts,

fez some tarts,

everything in the day of a summer.

Knave of the hearts,

stole tarts

and fez to them examination of clean absentee.

The king of the hearts

called itself for tarts

and beat sore full of knave.

Knave of the hearts

brought stops backwards tarts

and done votes would not steal not more.

ENGLISH ITALIAN ENGLISH

"Gender Benders-R-Us"

The Queen of the hearts,

has made some cakes,

all the day of the summer.

The knave of the hearts,

she has stolen cakes

and she has taken they clean absent.

The king of the hearts

has demanded cakes

and has struck the full wound of the knave.

The knave of the hearts

it has brought back cakes

and fact ballot in would not steal nient' other.

ENGLISH SPANISH ENGLISH

"A ballad of a loafer"

The queen of hearts,

she did some tarts,

all the day of a summer.

The loafer of hearts,

he robbed tarts

and he took them absent clean.

The king of hearts

called for tarts

and beat the full pain the loafer.

The loafer of hearts

brought tarts behind

and made vote he would not rob more not.

ENGLISH FRENCH ENGLISH

"Where's my portfolio?"

The queen of the hearts,

it made some pie-charts,

all the day of a summer.

The servant of the hearts,

it stole pie-charts

and their took clean party.

The king of the hearts

required pie-charts

and beat the full wound of servant.

The servant of the hearts

brought back pie-charts

and dedicated it would not fly more.

ENGLISH GERMAN ENGLISH

"The virtue punished, the evil triumphant"

The queen of the inside,

formed her some cakes,

all on the day of a Summierers.

The Knave of the inside,

he stole the cakes

and took from them away clean.

The king of the inside

required the cakes

and struck the full wound of the Knave.

The Knave of the inside

did not get back the cakes

and vowed it any more would not steal.

And now for the piece de resistance:

ENGLISH GERMAN ENGLISH FRENCH ENGLISH SPANISH ENGLISH ITALIAN ENGLISH PORTUGUESE ENGLISH (well, not quite ENGLISH)

"Piece de resistance is futile"

Of the internal queen,

it formats some hardens it,

all the day of Summierers.

The stolen employee of the intern,

cakes and had

eliminated pulizie.

The it and cake king

beats necessary interns

the full wound the employee.

The employee of the intern

did not recoup cakes

and dedicated he would not pilot it more.

Perhaps you think that the translation engine was not really designed to handle poetry? Well, in true scientific spirit, your faithful servant decided to subject something else to the same treatment - like this very paragraph.

PARAGRAPH ABOVE (E) GERMAN ENGLISH

Possibly do you that the conversion machine was not really sketched think, in order to touch poetry? Well in the applicable scientific spirit, its reliable official, still something decided the same handling - as this paragraph to subject.

PARAGRAPH ABOVE (EGE) FRENCH ENGLISH

Probably you that the machine of conversion was not really outlined think, touch poetry? Well in the applicable scientific spirit, its civil servant worthy of confidence, still something decided the same thing handling - that this paragraph to subject.

PARAGRAPH ABOVE (EGEFE) SPANISH ENGLISH

You who the machine of the conversion was really not skirted it thinks, touches probably poetry? Well in the applicable scientific alcohol, his worthy civil employee of confidence, immovable something decided the same thing that directed that this paragraph to the subject.

PARAGRAPH ABOVE (EGEFESE) ITALIAN ENGLISH

That the machine of the conversion really is not be flanked thoughts, touched probably the poetry? In the applicable scientific alcool, its worthy civil employee of confidentiality, piece of real estate something has decided the same thing well that he has ordered that this paragraph towards the object.

PARAGRAPH ABOVE (EGEFESEIE) PORTUGUESE ENGLISH

What the machine of the conversion does not have to really be flanqueados thoughts, touched probably the poetry? In alcool scientific applicable, its worthy civil employee of confidentiality, part of real property something decided the same upper-class thing that requested that this paragraph for the object.

No comment from your worthy civil employee of confidentiality.