07 July 2009

Lost in Translation

We've been working on the incredibly long and complicated process for the second adoption. For the Swiss, everything must be filled out in German. (Or French or Italian, but our best bet for help is German!)

GLH purchased a translation software program to help us. He was convinced we could just write everything in English, run it through the translation program and send it in as is. "May not be perfect," he said, "but it should be close enough."

I decided to have my German tutor help us on it. Am I glad I did!

Otherwise, I would not have discovered that the software program translated "Bachelor's Degree" to the German language equivalent of "degree in bachelor's parties." Or that my statement that I am a "stay at home mother of a 9 month old baby" would become an "uncaring mother who looks old."

Languages have many subtleties that require human interpretation. Preferably by a native speaker...


Pointless Drivel said...

Interesting. I ran them through Google Translate. "Bachelor's Degree" translated to "Bachelor's Degree." And "stay at home mother of a nine-month-old baby" gave me,"zu Hause bleiben Mutter eines 9Monate altes Baby".

(Granted, I don't speak German so I can't judge the accuracy of the second one, but it looks close.)

Global Librarian said...

C'mon. Do you really think that GLH was satisfied with one of the many free translating programs available online?

Nope, Gadget Boy went to buy a very expensive, professional quality software program.

Oh yeah. It's worth every penny.

CanadianSwiss said...

Good thing you had it checked by your teacher.

If you want to have a good laugh though, I suggest you put the funny results you got in German, and have them re-translated into English. You might not recognize what you wrote in the original English text.

DrSpouse said...


J said...

"uncaring mother who looks old."


Thanks for the laugh! I really needed it today.