LOHO 10002

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Messing With Words

by Yori Yanover

I have the strangest hobby in the world. I enjoy messing with online translation services. Here’s one example, courtesy of the Altavista translator.

I took the following paragraph, which appears each month on the Grand Street News editorial page:

The Grand Street News is home-delivered to 10,000 households in the 10002 zip code. Our copies are not piled up, untouched, in people’s lobbies – they reach every potential customer personally! And our distinctly local flavor translates into a committed readership that scans each issue – cover to cover.

Then translated the whole thing into French, translated the French to German and then took it back home to English with the following delightful result:

The large road messages are not stacked upward, intact at home 10,000 households supplied in the post office code 10002. our copies, in the entrances of the persons, - they reach each potential customer personally! And our clearly local taste converts into committed readership, which sweeps each exit - cover which can be covered.

But then I took the resulting text, made it Dutch, then French, then Italian, then English again:

The great messages are not 10,000 intact families ascendants piled up that in the number code 10002, our copies, in the entrances of the persons are supplied to the house, - they catch up every customer personally upgrades them! And our clearly local taste puts in the assistantship sacrificed for that it cleans up every conclusion - draft this can be dealt.

The secrets for hours of fun is to switch from a Germanic to a Romance language, and back again. Here’s what happens to a truly classic line:

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet. Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Scene 2)," became, well, this…

Is this in a name? That which we mention, rinunziato prevented arbitrarily with another word then goute.

I’d love to receive other people’s messed up translation efforts. They absolutely make me laugh the thigh-slapping kind of laughter…


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