Portugese whispers

Charles Butler hannibal at thegates.fsbusiness.co.uk
Thu Apr 22 03:53:06 EDT 2004


> My grandfather was a linguist/philosopher/mathematician who did some very
> early work involving automatic translation (mostly on the theory side). He
> used to tell the joke of an epigram that was machine-translated from
> to Russian and back to English. The original was, "The spirit is willing,
> but the flesh is weak" - after retranslation from Russian, "The vodka is
> good, but the steak is so-so".

:-) I can't help feeling the whole exercise is rather DWJ-ish, too, a
glimpse into a parallel but subtly-different world where books are eaten (I
suppose she said 'devoured'?) and so forth. Anyway, the days when you're
replaced by a computer seem to be some way off, Gili. I hope the rips in
your eyes are healing.


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