Tuesday 31 December 2019

Chinese whispers by multiple cumulative translations into and out-of English

Wm Jas Tychonievich has given us what deserves to become a classic of literary wit by performing the following procedure of cumulative translation:

"I put the 103 languages in random order, and started with a short poem by Yeats. I translated it into the first language, then back into English; translated the result into the second languages, then back into English, and so on. Below are the results, showing every tenth translation so that you can follow the progressive degradation of the text. (I've added line breaks and capitalization to imitate the poetic form of the original; everything else is reproduced verbatim from Google Translate.)"

For the highly amusing and confusing result - go to his From the Narrow Desert blog.

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