8:46 PM

Seriously Lost
in Translation


One of the functions of 'The Google' is their Alerts, a very effective way to stay up on any topic or person in real-time.

For instance, I have an "alert" set up for keywords like "Terrafugia" and when someone mentions the company that is about to test fly their very cool Transition roadable airplane, I know about it instantly. Google's Alerts can be configured to scour web pages, blogs, news sources, Google videos and groups, and when their system picks up that keyword, it shoots you an email with a direct link to the story, blog post or video.

So as a HUGE Transition fan, I was naturally excited tonight when I saw this Google Alert come into my inbox:

Google News Alert for: Terrafugia

Primer vehículo volador del mundo Exclusiva
(Centro de Información por Internet de China - China)
Say what? A news story about the Transition...in Spanish...from a CHINESE news source? Well, as a fan of Jay Leno's "Headlines" bit where he regularly features crazy Chinese translations chopped into pathetic English, I asked myself what could possibly go wrong if a Chinese news site translates an English press release into Spanish.

The answer - while not at all surprising - is completely hilarious. The pull quotes below are taken verbatim from this site, and then translated back into English:
"A called company Terrafugia, with seat in the city of Worboun de Massachussets, the United States, recently began to accept orders. According to its plan, the first “flying car” of the world invented by her will leave year 2009 on sale. The flying car, denominated “Transition” and to a price of 127 pounds sterling (approximately 190,000 dollars), will be given to the buyer in second half of the coming year."
O.K., a few chopped up English sentences there. Oh, it gets funnier:
"This vehicle is in fact a light sport airplane of terrestrial-aerial use. Its fuselage measures 5.8 meters and their spread, 8.4 meters. Before taking off it needs to cross a distance in the track. Km/hora can fly at a speed of 185 and reach to the maximum to 741 kilometers without scale. After being folded its wings vertically to both sides of the body, the vehicle becomes a car able to cross in the highway."
Jeez Louise, sure glad they didn't try and talk about the power train...oh but wait...they did:
"This car utilizes a motor one Rotax 912S of four times, with a power of 73.5 kilowatts. It employs the unleaded gasoline and can charge fuel in any common gas station. The spokesman of the business exposes that the "Transition" he can be stationed generally in the conventional garage of house. The conductor can achieve, by means of a series of simple instructions, the free change between airplane and car, to stopping suffering the climatic restrictions. Nevertheless, only the possessors of the license of aviation are authorized to introduce the codes for extend the wings."
Now I understand that worldwide coverage of your product can't hurt, but it is nearly impossible to run the English language through a Chinese wordmill and have come out readable. But when you then take that gibberish and again run it through a Spanish Wordchopper 2000, and then back to English, it creates a train wreck of our language that would be sad if it weren't so funny.

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