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Off topic: Unintended humour: Amateur translation
Thread poster: Oliver Walter

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:33
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Jun 2, 2007

I bought a pack of an Indian snack today and it has the list of ingredients in several languages. The English is correct (it was made in England) but look at the French and German! BTW, gram flour is flour made from chick peas (Kichererbsen, pois chiches). (I have underlined the "best" bits.)

English: gram flour, green lentils, yellow lentils, chick peas, peanuts, rice flakes, pure vegetable oil, salt, spices, colours.

French: gramme farine, verte lentille, jaune lentille, poussin pois, cacahuette, rizière flocons, pur végétal pétrole, sel, épicer, couleurs.

German: Gramm Mehl, grün Linsen, gelb Linsen, Küchlein Erbsen, Erdnüsse, schier Gemüse Ölen, Salzen, Gewürze, Farben.

My guess is that the factory owner just went to the local library and spent a few minutes with bilingual dictionaries, or perhaps asked his/her children who are learning languages at school.

Oliver


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Robin Salmon  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 01:33
German to English
+ ...
The "have a go" approach Jun 2, 2007

Thanks for that, Oliver!

I once taught French to an enterprising lad who had his rubbish collected by "un homme de duste" and whenever he entered a restaurant was confronted by "le tête garçon"!


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:33
Swedish to English
+ ...
More likely machine translation Jun 3, 2007

Each part of the compounds appears translated without reference to the other words. Even the most incompetent amateur should be able to look at more than one word at a time.

With my limited German and French I can see how a machine might translate chick as poussin or Küchlein. A human being would, hopefully, mange to connect the two words - chick and peas.


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:03
German to English
Will they be allowed to continue to sell the product? Jun 3, 2007

Considering that the translations into French and German are actually wrong and the list of ingredients in those languages is therefore also incorrect, will the manufacturer be allowed to continue to sell this product in EU countries? Are there any regulations preventing this?

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RHELLER
United States
Local time: 08:33
French to English
+ ...
incroyable mais vrai Jun 3, 2007

this may well be a machine translation - it is the worst I've seen yet! (I can only evaluate the French - sorry, I don't know German).

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:33
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Pupil's endeavours Jun 3, 2007

Robin Salmon wrote:

Thanks for that, Oliver!

I once taught French to an enterprising lad who had his rubbish collected by "un homme de duste" and whenever he entered a restaurant was confronted by "le tête garçon"!


I used to teach French too and I remember one pupil, who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer (but "had a go"), who translated "it's eight o'clock" as "il est wheat heures".
The dangers of too much oral work, perhaps?
Regards,
Jenny.


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 16:33
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
alternative translation Jun 3, 2007

translated "it's eight o'clock" as "il est wheat heures".


il est mangait heures


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:33
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Is the labelling legal? Jun 3, 2007

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:
Considering that the translations into French and German are actually wrong and the list of ingredients in those languages is therefore also incorrect, will the manufacturer be allowed to continue to sell this product in EU countries? Are there any regulations preventing this?

An interesting question. I've looked at the company's Website and it only mentions sales in countries where English is the official language, or at least probably understood (e.g. USA, S. Africa, Pakistan). I've found what may be the EU document governing the labelling
(http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2000/l_109/l_10920000506en00290042.pdf)
It contains the following: Article 3 says the labelling must contain the list of ingredients;
Article 16 mentions "a language easily understood by the consumer" and says that a member state can specify a required language but not prevent labelling in several languages.
I suppose this makes it illegal except in countries where labelling in English is permitted since there is in fact, for example, no ingredient that is called "poussin pois" in French.
I've sent an email to this company to say that the labelling may be illegal in other EU countries.

Oliver


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Anne Goff  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:33
French to English
+ ...
More goofs Jun 3, 2007

I once knew an American learning French who produced the fabulous phrase:

"tete dos ecole"


Got it? It was supposed to the French version of the common American phrase, "head back to school".

:-S


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:33
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
And Preservatives Jun 4, 2007

Now, this may be funny for us but not for the person (teacher), who happens to be an acquaintance.

She was teaching in a French Hotel Management School and was teaching some Indian recipe. She actually said: ajoutez les preservatives

And anyone can guess the reactions of French students who were listening.


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ST Translations
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:33
French to English
Funny translations! Jun 4, 2007

That's funny Ritu. I have a teaching friend who asked a pupil in her French GCSE oral "Est-ce que tu as un petit animal à
la maison?" To which she replied "ah, oui, j'ai un petit pois". She had to try hard not to start laughing!


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Heather Lane  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:33
Dutch to English
Machine translation Jun 4, 2007

A friend of mine insisted that he wasn't in need of professional help for the translation of his website from Dutch into English, and stubbornly carried out the translation himself using an online machine translator. Have a look and the result and be prepared to grimace.....

www. schipperij.nl (click on the British flag)

It pays to pay!


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lingomania
Local time: 01:33
Italian to English
Tons of this stuff Jun 4, 2007

I've seen (and laughed to) tons of this type of translating. Unbelievable.

Rob


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:33
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The Dutch usually know English quite well Jun 4, 2007

Heather Lane wrote:
A friend of mine insisted that he wasn't in need of professional help for the translation of his website from Dutch into English, and stubbornly carried out the translation himself using an online machine translator. Have a look and the result and be prepared to grimace.....
www. schipperij.nl (click on the British flag)
It pays to pay!

(You'll need to remove the space after "www." in that URL.)
I'm surprised that he accepted such a poor text as good English. In my, admittedly limited, experience, many Dutch people are rather competent users of English. Any English native speaker would probably leave the site immediately (except perhaps as a source of humour) on reading "To border the use has been so far limited remained."
(from "Aan boord is het gebruik tot nu toe beperkt gebleven." I suppose that means that the Internet has not yet been used much on ships.)
So, Heather, are you going to be a friend to your friend and tell him (again) that if he pays for a translation, his resulting English web site might bring him some business, but probably not otherwise?

Oliver


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Leena vom Hofe  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:33
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Funny! Jun 6, 2007

I have bought a bottle of goat milk yesterday. On it was a translation from dutch into german telling me that goat milk is richer in vitamin A than other milk and is likely to cause allergies!
(The "less" seemed to have been lost..)

(All the other languages - English and French - said "less likely...")


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