While puttering about the ‘net today, I discovered a review of Star Trek: Constellations. No real surprise there — they’ve been showing up on the ‘net for nearly a year now. But this one was different.
I don’t read Chinese. I can recognize it. That’s about it.
Fortunately, Google comes in handy with its translation service, even if it’s in Beta and about seventy percent accurate at best. What was the line in The Final Reflection? “The translator is a traitor,” I do believe. I work with Google’s translator at work, and I’ve learned to make some sense out of the words it spits out.
I had Google translate the review. Could I make sense of it?
Indeed, I could!
I think my favorite of the reviews of Constellations on the page — all twelve stories are reviewed — is the review of Bob Greenberger‘s story which reads (in translation): “Sulu praise! Super courageous!” Succient, it is. 🙂
There’s something poetic about the way the translation of the “Make-Believe” review reads: “tears away from falling out of the downtown.” I have a gist of what that means, but even if I’m wrong, it’s poetic. Chinese is like that — depending on the translation of The Art of War or the I Ching or the Tao Te Ching or, especially, the Ling Ch’i Ching the imagery is at once alien and clear, working from different assumptions, leading to different places, and it makes sense albeit from a vastly different vantage point.
I’m just amazed. Someone in a different country, with a different cultural background, who speaks a different language, read something I wrote and wrote a review of it. What a world we live in! 🙂
ETA: I ran the same page through Babelfish, and produced some different results. I find it interesting that Google’s translation of the review of Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore’s story, “First, Do No Harm,” is generally negative, while Babelfish’s translation of the same text is quite positive.
I’m curious about the person who wrote in the comments, “Allyn Gibson is one of my favorite freelance writers.”