In an earlier episode I wrote that “they finally fixed it”. Well, they did – but not quite.
For an article I am writing, I wanted to know the meaning of a Russian phrase. As I suspected, it means the same as the corresponding French remark in the multilingual work in question, the Fundamento de Esperanto by L.L. Zamenhof.
The phrase is in the Russian of the year of publication, 1905, which means it is in an older spelling and contains some Cyrillic characters that are no longer used today. Google Translate has some difficulty with it, for example where GT writes “member” this should be ‘article’. Not the kind of articles you read in a newspaper or buy in a shop, but the grammatical category, of which the English words ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’ are members. Not hard to guess for me, because the Dutch word for ‘article’ in this sense is lidwoord, and ‘member’ is lid.
You get almost perfect results by pretending the text is in Belarusian or Ukrainian. The Russian is:
Примѣчаніе. Употребленіе члена такое же, какъ въ языкахъ нѣмецкомъ, французскомъ и другихъ. Лица, для которыхъ употребленіе члена представляетъ трудности, могутъ совершенно его не употреблять.
GT turns that into:
Note. The use of the member is the same as in the languages German, French and others. Persons for whom the use of a member presents difficulties may not use it at all.
As said, “members” should be articles, and “may not use it at all” does not mean their use is forbidden, but that it is allowed and acceptable not to use them at all. Thus the translation corresponds nicely to the French version in the same book:
Remarque. ― L’emploi de l’article est le même qu’en français ou en allemand. Mais les personnes auxquelles il présenterait quelque difficulté peuvent fort bien ne pas s’en servir.
So far so good. But Google Translate has the strange habit that it does detect the language the text to be translated is in, although it doesn’t immediately translate from that language. Instead, it sets the source language to what it remembers from your previous use of GT. In my case that was Hebrew – or perhaps Yiddish, but the result is the same.
And that’s how I got those hallucinatory texts again that I know so well from having GT translate Interlingua in Greek script to English, as if it were really Greek. Before they fixed that.
So this is Russian in old spelling, translated by GT as if it were Hebrew:
Acquisitions. It is recommended that you do this, as well as the German, French and other languages. Lying down, for which the female member represents the truth, can be superimposed on him or her.
Misrepresenting the source language in different ways, each time picking a language that doesn’t use the Cyrillic script, yields different, equally crazy results.
Javanese or Malagasy:
Primes. People like that, as you speak German, French, and others. Of course, in order to provide for the needs of the person we are presenting, I can certainly not take it.
Armenian, Georgian or Kurdish:
Receipt. Use members like women, French, French and others. Persons who use a member to represent hardship may not use a perfect ego.
Примѣчаніе. Consumed by the same member, as in German, French, French and others. A person for whom the member uses represents difficulty, may not use it completely.
Macedonian or Farsi:
Receipt. Users are also members of this group, such as French, French, and others. Persons who use a member to represent hardship may not use a perfect ego.
Primes. People like that, as you speak German, French, and others. Of course, for those who are trying to get rid of clutter, I can definitely not take it.
Swahili or Sesotho:
Perfect for. The corporate world has always been the same, as it has been in the United States, the French and the United States. Lystra, for the rest of the portrait of the world, has always been a thriving country, the only place to be in the world.
(For Shona and Xhosa it is the same as for Sesotho, except that the word “for” disappears.)
Czech or Slovak:
Directing. The needs of the member are such as those in German, French and other languages. The face, for which the members of the member represent the hardness, can do it without compromising it.
By the way, Swedish, Hebrew and Yiddish to Google Translate are all the same language, as long as you write them in old Russian spelling. Be forewarned.
Zamenhof was a prophet. Already in 1905 he knew about digital devices, seeing this translation from ‘Swedish’, starting with “4. Числительныя количественныя (не склоняются)”:
4. Number of colons (not cloned): unu (1), du (2), tri (3), kvar (4), kvin (5) ses (6), sep (7), ok (8), naŭ ( 9), deck (10), cents (100), miles (1000). Descriptions and links have the most explicit content available. For the promotion of public access, the privileged offerings; for digital devices - obl erection, for wireless - on, for smart devices - op, for digital devices - slow po. This feature can be used by both the recipient and the recipient. (Primer: Kvin | cent tri | dek tri = 533; kvar | a четвертый; unu | o единица; du | e во вторыхъ; tri | obl | a тройной, kvar | on | o четверть; du | op | e вдвое; po kvin по пяти).