Off topic: You can't blame it all on machine translation!
Thread poster: Jack Doughty

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:46
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Apr 29, 2010

Going through some old files, I came across this, which I believe was sent in to the Institute of Linguists journal round about 1970.

Friends of the lake of Garda,

did you once asked yourself what could have the lake of Garda to be so attractive? The climate midness? The slacking and fortifing sweetness together, which are specially coming true in spring or better during the long autumn which has so indescribable colours? Or else the nearly marine dimension of this sheet of water, so wide in some points that it does not appear any more as a lake? Or the aspect of its so varied landscapes — here fjord, the sunny shores, or the soft sloping down of the morainic rufflings —, it is this aspect which distinguishes it of all the others delightful places? Or may be the purity, rightly exalted, of these waters which can be in comparison with an other lake even with a healty ecology? Or may be what attracts you so much is the unusual combination of the luxuriant green of the coast with the white mantle of the mountains, encircling the lake, fully equiped for the winter sports?

Who knows, may be that the glamour secret of the Garda arises from all these things, but may also be that it is originate from others hiddener elements: from the characteristic villages scatteredly among its hills, to the people's Hospitality, to the genuine cook, vital basis of fish, oil, vine and others local products.

Turning over the following pages, watching the pictures we are presenting to you (how it was difficult for us to choose in the innumerable pictures of this region!), perhaps will you find out what really call you on the Garda: if it is one or another or both of these reasons.

The Garda Community, as offers you this publication, realized with the Public and Private Touristing Organization, thanks you for the tenderness you have for this lake and hopes for receiving some kind answers to our questions that we did try to formulate. On purpose it has been omit all punctual reference to the pictures in order to give to the host an opportunity for the discovery of these motives like the discovery of the thousand others which would be absolutly impossible to what I propose here.

In conclusion, we ask to note that the Garda Community did begun an action in order to let breathe on these shores, natural people cross-road, not only an atmosphere of serene relaxation, but also an atmosphere authentically «European», and let know, really, the birth of an European conscience, the belonging to a single people. In the plain of the Po, the lake of Garda leads marine dimension above the wide horizon, but becomes fjord when it is penetrating in the Alpine buttress. Down here the sunsets are following with a majestic, fantastic, and triumphal aspect; in the north, the mountains are reflecting in the darker blue and create an unforeseen contrast.

Rather than algae there is resin in the water which is very clean and very transparent. The climate is dry and mild. The lake of Garda is certainly the more Mediterranean of all the Pre-Alpine lakes. Everywhere, vineyards, olives, laurels, oleanders and cypress are giving a glushing out vegetation. All along the coast, in the small harbours, a lot of pleasure-boats a bit sophisticals are bobbing up and down beside the fishermen's boats. In the azurer waters, sailing boats and steamers are ploughing and rippling, meanwhile the multicoloured sails, swelling of wind, race the more glamorous competitions.

By the side the old houses, glazing of rust, the parish churches, often in a beautiful Romanesque, and sometimes stern rockes and stylish castles are initialing an ancient and noble past. As we are going away of the bottom-lake, the representative voice of the Mantuan Virgil is tracing back withthe impassioned one of the Veronian Catullo together join to the Dante's memory and the emotion of Goethe, and are also turning back, always alive, the other poets of the Garda world. With them are still living all the artists those who find there their inspiration.

A rusticer flavour of this piece of Europe descented among the Italian sun, that we could see over the band coast: in the opulent country which is wrapping up by the morainic amphitheatre and spreads in the infinite expanse of the Po rising of Virgil's georgic serenity. Among the band coast and the aerial balconies which are opening always farer horizons, within the small valleys which are breaking the compactness of the mountain chains and make the Garda wings. Here is the genuineness of a time and the roots of a population who around the Garda did know how build a charming environment and an incredible organization.

In this context the tourist is able to live his dreams: the traditional hospitality, the qualification of the receptivity, the thermal establishments, the sporting and entertainments installations, the historical and cultural recalls, the manifestations are a warrantee for a complet enjoying, and unforgettable holiday. The reasonable proximity from Venice, Florence to the Dolomites are giving the opportunity to a stay where, without considering that there is also an efficient service.

Brescia, Trent, Verone are chief-towns of the province which do meet themselves on the Garda sides, meanwhile Mantua adds the morainic hills with a domination all over the lake. These are the Pre-Romane towns which all along the centuries did have this special character which today it is possible to meet in their places, on their mansions, in their monuments: haughtly expression of fervent genius whom did set them among the more glamorous Italian cities.

[Edited at 2010-04-30 08:12 GMT]


Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:46
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

Gorgeous! Apr 29, 2010

but MT is improving all the time so don't think this is our competition.



Deborah Workman  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
True, it doesn't take MT to produce that kind of stuff! Apr 29, 2010

Though it does take a human translator to ensure against it.

Thanks, Jack, for the fun read!

[Bearbeitet am 2010-04-29 19:16 GMT]


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Can't believe it! Apr 29, 2010

How could they misspell "moronic" so many times as "morainic"???icon_wink.gif


David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
At least machine translation is effortless... Apr 29, 2010

someone actually worked to create this gem in the early 70s!


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:46
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Makes you want to go there! Apr 30, 2010

I have always had soft spot for translations that make exotic foreign places sound exotic and foreign icon_wink.gif

This has far more soul than the MT cr*p I have seen.

... not only an atmosphere of serene relaxation, but also an atmosphere authentically «European», and let know, really, the birth of an European conscience, the belonging to a single people.

Eat your heart out, European Union !

That sort of thing has been going on for years - there was the school Latin of earlier generations, still going strong in my day in the 1960s ...

All Gaul is quartered into three halves (Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est ??)

And more, which I will spare you for.

And mercifully I threw away my own attempts at translating Virgil's descriptions of farming and bee keeping long ago. They were nothing like as poetic as the Lake Garda text icon_wink.gif


Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:46
Italian to English
Intercultural competence Apr 30, 2010

I hope this helps our colleagues understand some of the issues we IT > EN translators have to deal with.
The grammatical and syntactical errors pale into insignificance compared with the tone, register or whatever you may want to call it. Poetic is not the word I use after being subjected to this sort of stuff for a week or more!

[Edited at 2010-04-30 21:57 GMT]


Didier Briel  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:46
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres May 1, 2010

Christine Andersen wrote:

All Gaul is quartered into three halves (Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est ??)

Caesar's word order is not the obvious one.




Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
I'm all for morainic rufflings May 1, 2010

What a lovely way to describe those hummocky glacial deposits - sheer artistry! (And yes, it's pertaining to moraines, not morons.)

I admit to a great affection for this kind of stuff; not only does it ride roughshod over linguistic convention, but offers interesting insights into both the source and target language mindset. We should not let our desire for "correctness" overshadow the innocent unfettered genius of such texts.

A while back I translated a cookery website where most recipes had already been "pretranslated" by the author. As the work progressed I began to wonder if I was not dismantling a great work of art, so fortuitous and lovely were some of the mistranslations. One which I was very tempted to keep was "sparkle" instead of "sprinkle". It still makes me smile as I become the fairy of the kitchen "sparkling" gaily with flour or sugar as I go...

I regret that I no longer possess a gem of a leaflet from the 1980s that came with a German-made office hole punch. "Do not neglect to grease the friction possibilities of your perforator!" it began, and went on to extol the long life and active service that would then be enjoyed - pre Viagra too!

The entertainment value of bad translation has been underestimated. Maybe we should all propose "interesting and amusing" translations into languages we barely know; my choice would be Greek or Armenian. After all, some people have been making a good career of it for years. icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks for the posting, Jack!


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