Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Manglish--Kitteh Characters

The title of the above video (for maximum laffs) is "Store Manager Leon:   Goalkeeper"...Kawaii, desho!

Cute--but not actually the point of this post, which is Manglish...and why you shouldn't put your implicit trust in Google Translator;-))

Here is the Translator version of Leon's character description from the NekoCafe Leon website:

The temperature" signs son (?) You Leon. ちょっと頼りなさそうに見えちゃう、 Are unlikely to rely on my eyes a little
くるみ型の瞳は思わずギュッと守ってあげたくなっちゃう。 Walnuts type eyes tight gonna keep having her involuntarily.
ちなみにチャームポイントはマンチカン種特有の短い足。 Charm Point Munchkin species-specific way, short legs.
てふてふと歩いている姿は見る人すべてをメロメロにしちゃいます。 Chaimasu Tefutefu is walking with her to everyone who's drunk.


I may not be the best J-E translator in the world, but I'm fairly certain that given an uninterrupted half-hour (which, by the way, are hard to come by around here...), I could produce a translation that would at least sound more-or-less like, well, English instead of a dead-drunk Salaryman with his necktie around his head trying out his high school English on passing foreigners...  Maybe.;-))

Half An Hour And One Slice Of Strawberry Tart Without So Much Rat In It Later*...

 "Cafe Leon's Posterboy Leon!  I can hardly believe my eyes...
Walnut-shaped eyes squeezed tightly shut, I want to protect you...
Short legs are the special charming point of the Munchkin breed.
His waddling stride melts everyone's hearts.

...or something like that;-))

Where Google Translator goes off the rails is really the same way that first-year foreign language students do-- by making literal, word-by-word translations utterly innocent of context.  When I taught German, I didn't *let* the first-year kids use a bilingual dictionary when they were writing.   Most words have multiple meanings, and the way you choose the right word is by knowing the context in which it will be used.  Google Translator (useful as it surely is for straightforward timetables or price-guides and such in Cyrillic or Greek or Japanese even) is, in the end, a machine that doesn't appear to be programmed to understand context or slang in human language (which is, I can assure you, a HUGE undertaking).

But, even better than silly translations, I got this awesome Haiku from Official Haiku Maker Jerry, who said he'd write one for me if I hauled out my Kanji dictionary to improve upon Google Translate...

 Leon, the store boss
Like a prairie dog he stands
Dwarf, tall in spirit 

Mata asobou, ne! 

*Monty Python...can't for the life of me remember which sketch.


  1. I love Leon, whose waddling stride melts everyone's hearts! :)

    And here are a few Leon Haiku I came up with:

    Leon is the boss.
    Everyone thinks he is cute.
    "Oh hush!" says the boss.

    Leon had a bath.
    He cried. Oh poor Leon! We
    want to hug you now!

    Leon wishes they
    hadn't put that on YouTube.
    He is embarrassed.

  2. Miranda--AWESOME!!! *Love* the haiku!! Third one is brilliant--can I add it to the post? Pleeze? With proper attribution? (i iz still laffing....)