Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Web Translation Services

I recently received an e-mail from a delightful young lady called “Alina”.


Now, I don’t actually know anyone by the name of Alina, but she clearly knows me, because she “liked my structure on one of places for acquaintances”.  Alina tells me that she wishes to “find much unique love and the true partner in life” and shall “wait my answer with impatience”.  Alina is clearly a good catch because she is “very cheerful and at me am a good comic genre”.

If you too wish to be able to send e-mails to acquaintances in foreign climes, with at least the same eloquence and charm as Alina has sent me, then I suggest you resort to randomly firing it through a web translation service and not checking the result.

If, on the other hand, you have some foreign text that you wish to translate (as I recently did when I was given a set of documentation in German) into something vaguely intelligible, then I suggest that use several different services in tandem.  Note that I would never dream of using this approach for external documentation (Find someone that speaks the language, and speaks it well), but that for my own internal use, this approach worked well.

Most often these days, I found myself using simply Google Translate.  However, back in the old days, Yahoo! Babel Fish (once AltaVista Babel Fish) was the way to go.  I also discovered Windows Live! Translator.

Running the same German text through each, I discovered some interesting results.  On the whole, I found that text translated via Yahoo! Babel Fish made the least sense.  Being “the original”, I was actually quite disappointed about this.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the results I got from Windows Live! Translator.  This was likely due, in part, to the fact that I was translating technical documentation, and apparently Microsoft has their existing (and vast) technical library behind this technology.

Google Translate came somewhere in-between Babel Fish and Live! Translator.

Oh, and as for Alina?  I’ll pop that e-mail back into my Junk folder now, but thanks for the chuckle all the same.  For entertainment purposes, her e-mail in full:

Greetings the Friend!!!

I liked your structure on one of places for acquaintances, and I have made a decision to write to yours. Wash name Alina. In me 28 years. I wish to speak at once to you, that I search for serious communications. I wish to find the one who wished to experience a long and happy life. I very cheerful and at me am a good comic genre. I wish to find much unique love and the true partner in life. I wait that you will answer me,

I ask you to write only to this direction – some@email.address

I am applied my photo and with pleasure I shall answer you if you will write to me. I shall wait your answer with impatience and I wait that you to not neglect my letter. It is thankful in advance, Alina.

Thursday, 12 February 2009


One for £1.96. Three for 88p.

Excuse me while I swear very loudly at the new lows of the illogical supermarket deals.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

I had to buy some…

…Because I couldn’t work out what they were!

Baked mini cheddars

“Baked Mini Cheddars”


“Salt & Vinegar flavour”

“Light & crispy texture”

So… Do they taste of cheddar?  Do they have the texture of Mini-Cheddars?

…Are they in fact in any way like Mini-Cheddars at all, beyond the fact that they happen to come in a packet?

The Results

Well… They are crinkled.  They do taste of cheddar and salt and vinegar.  They do have a light and crispy texture and yet also the feel of mini-cheddars.  Verdict:  I like!