Friday, October 07, 2011

Esenin by machine

Here's a rather amusing machine translation of Esenin's "To My Sister Shura" (I found it here, where there are other languages too). The unspecified machine had particular trouble with any OVS sentence (as in the last line А ее износил наш дед - literally "And it-obj wore-out our grandfather-subj" - becomes "And it iznosil our grandfather". This isn't Google - they also have some problems, but they're different. That last line becomes, baffingly, "And our worn out her grandfather".

Both of them turn помню (I remember) into an imperative!

(My own translation is here)

I've provided a literal translation so you can perhaps see what's gone wrong; it's in italics.

Ах, как много на свете кошек,
Ah, how many cats in the world,
Ah, how many in the world cats
Нам с тобой их не счесть никогда.
We are with you they do not think ever.
We with you* them not count ever
Сердцу снится душистый горошек,
Heart of dreaming sweet pea,
to-heart dreams sweet pea **
И звенит голубая звезда.
And zvenit Blue Star.
And rings blue star-subj

Наяву ли, в бреду иль спросонок,
Do dreams, delirious il awake,
In-real-life/waking, in delirium or half-asleep
Только помню с далекого дня —
Just remember in the distant days —
I just/just-now remember from distant day
На лежанке мурлыкал котенок,
At lezhanke murlykal kitten
On bench-by-stove purred kitten
Безразлично смотря на меня.
Any looking at me.
Indifferently looking at me

Я еще тогда был ребенок,
I had then was a child,
I back then was a child
Но под бабкину песню вскок
But under babkinu song vskok
But under grandmother's song (he) leapt
Он бросался, как юный тигренок,
He brosalsya as a young tiger cub,
He threw-himself, like young tiger cub
На оброненный ею клубок.
At obronenny of the ball.
at dropped by-her snarl/tangle (of yarn)

Все прошло. Потерял я бабку,
All gone. I lost my Babkov,
All has gone. Lost I grandmother
А еще через несколько лет
And yet a few years
And still through/after several years
Из кота того сделали шапку,
From the cat that made a hat,
From the cat (they) made a hat***
А ее износил наш дед.
And it iznosil our grandfather.
And it-obj wore-out our grandfather-subj

Here, for comparison, is Google Translate's version:

Oh, how many cats in the world,
You and I do not consider them ever.
Heart dreaming sweet peas,
And rings blue star.

In reality if, in his delirium il awake,
Just remember the distant days -
On the bed purring kitten
Indifferent looking at me.

I was then still a child,
But by Babkin song vskok
He threw himself, as a young cub,
Had dropped to her ball.

All gone. I lost a grandmother,
A few years later
Of the cat that made ​​a hat,
And our worn out her grandfather.

* just means 'we' - you & I
** the one dreaming is in dative, what is dreamed of is in nominative (sort of 'it comes to me in my dreams' notion
*** indefinite 'they' - a hat was made

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At 1:53 PM, October 07, 2011 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Oh, the tales I could recount of even Google Translate's mangling of Portuguese expository prose into English, not to mention poetry...

At 2:15 PM, October 07, 2011 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Oh, yes. Google Translate can be quite bad. But in different ways than this is bad.

At 2:39 PM, October 07, 2011 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Space here precludes, but two years ago, in preparation for a talk at a conference, I ran a couple of 8-line stanzas of Camões' "Os Lusíadas" ("The Lusiads") through several translating programs -- and, as you can imagine, each is dreadful in its own way. Of course, there are also some horribly florid 18th and 19th century human translations of it (including even by Richard Burton), some of which stray unconscionably from the original.

At 3:17 PM, October 07, 2011 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Yeah, yeah, I know, I should've tried harder to restrain myself, but I'm weak...

Camões: "Os Lusíadas" ("The Lusiads"), Canto 9, v. 56-57

Mil árvores estão ao céu subindo,
Com pomos odoríferos e belos:
A laranjeira tem no fruto lindo
A cor que tinha Dafne nos cabelos;
Encosta-se no chão, que está caindo,
A cidreira com os pesos amarelos;
Os formosos limões ali, cheirando,
Estão virgíneas tetas imitando.

As árvores agrestes que os outeiros
Têm com frondente coma enobrecidos,
Alemos são de Alcides, e os loureiros
Do louro Deus amados e queridos;
Mirtos de Citereia, com os pinheiros
De Cibele, por outro amor vencidos;
Está apontando o agudo cipariso
Para onde é posto o etéreo paraíso

GOOGLE TRANSLATE (with howlers in CAPS):

Thousand trees are going up to heaven,
With apples fragrant and beautiful:
The orange FRUIT IS in beautiful
The color that Daphne had [ ] her hair;
PULL down on the FLOOR, which is falling,
The LEMON yellow with weights;
The beautiful lemons there, smelling,

The wild trees TO the hills
They EAT with FRONDENTE ennobled,
GERMANY IS A Alcides, and the laurel
[ ] Laurel and God loved ones
MIRTOS of Cythera, with pine
Cybele, [ ] the other love losers;
ARE pointing the acute CIPARISO
Where is PUT the ethereal paradise.


A thousand trees are climbing to the sky,
With fragrant and beautiful fruits:
The orange-tree has in its beautiful fruit
The color that Daphne had in her hair;
Lying on the ground, that is falling,
The citron tree with its yellow weights;
The beautiful lemons there, redolent,
They are imitating virginal breasts.

The wild trees that the hills
Have ennobled with feathery thick hair,
The poplars are Alcides’, and the laurels
Beloved by and dear to the golden God;
Cytherea’s myrtles, with the pine trees
Of Cybele, by another love conquered;
The sharp cypress is pointing
To where the ethereal paradise is located.


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