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Translating Is Not A Computer's Strong Suit

Friday, October 28, 2005

In a recent, not all too serious conversation I had with a friend of mine, we discussed releasing software to non-English markets. I like the idea of releasing Trichromix in, say, Chinese, but my Chinese is a little rusty (it's been several lives since I spoke it). And then my friend suggested using translation software.

By mere coincidence, I had stumbled on the Dutch translation of the LGPL earlier that day. If you can't read Dutch, that's too bad, because you're missing out on the most illegible legal text ever. And considering the fact that legal texts never make much sense, that's quite an achievement.

I don't know if other translations of the LGPL are also translated by a computer. The little German and French I do speak is not enough to distinguish between 'I just don't understand this' and 'computers should never be allowed to mess with natural language again'.

If, for some reason, you think it'd be nice to send me a message in my own language and decide to let the computer translate that message for you: don't. I'd rather stuff a fish in my ear.

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