Is There a Translator in the House?

Anyone know what language this is? Maybe Finnish? Is there a Finnish language?

He seems to be quite enthusiastic about my blog, having linked to about a dozen articles. But anyone have any idea what it says?

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It's Finnish alright. And when you run it through the on-line translator you get:

"friday , july 30, 2004 Luonnonvalintaa Eilisiltana while olin toward coach töistä home , combination pysäkillä coach nousi calculation circa kiloinen husband. Tietenkään anythbly no erect kävelemään yourself like much lyhyitä distance , so anythbly travel here tarkoitukseen valmistetulla burly scooter. Enpä tiennytkään , that täkäläisten coach etuoven floor hook virtually exit snapping apron. Coach fore oli taittuvatuolinen status pyörätuoleille , and husband skoottereineen oli thus mightily tall , that anythbly consummation both pyörätuolipaikat. If ego olisin circa morbidin obese , ego claim , that me close läskileirille , where en pääse devouring yourself tuollaiseen at. Apparently we everybody emme however ajattele asioista alike. Bussipysäkeillä spectacle amply ulkomainoksia , where mainostetaan look-out migrate cheque heeled owing " lanka bucks is a hun ". Tuon apposite hintailmoituksen ( which is select sum siitä , how sopivilla sanavalinnoilla feel blurring it , that kyse is collect ) aft oli diminutive asteriski. Mainoksen subsection double asteriskiin interlocking pienimmällä possibly fontilla , lest at inside cheque käteiseksi muuttamisesta perittävät expenditure. Poor paying kaikesta more."

That ought to clarify things Ed.

LOL. Man that's awesome. For some reason this just makes me break out laughing.

The language is Finnish. I guess this also explains the sudden appearance of American domain names in my sitemeter statistics.

I sometimes read through archives of interesting looking blogs, and link directly to the postings that I personally liked best, so that my like-minded readers can jump right into the good stuff. (I wish someone provided this service in general, pointing out blogs that I don't know and their best postings.) Today it was the turn of "Dispatches from the Culture Wars" to get this treatment.

By Ilkka Kokkarinen (not verified) on 30 Jul 2004 #permalink

Well thank you Ilkka, I appreciate the links. I just had no idea what you said about them. :)

"That ought to clarify things Ed."

Nice touch, Dave. Nearly fell off my chair. Best laugh I've had all week.

By Bill Ware (not verified) on 31 Jul 2004 #permalink

Ilkka Kokkarinen, Out of courtesy to Ed and his readers it would be nice to know a little about you and your views on his links you have attached to. (in English of course)

Most of the blog entry is not about Dispatches from the Culture Wars - it's about running into a badly overweight man on the bus and then seeing a deceptive advertisement. The paragraph about Dispatches from the Culture Wars just says it's the blog of the day, and then links to a bunch of articles that are possibly of interest to readers.

Lynn, isn't it a bit rude on your part to assume that a reviewer has a responsibility to translate his review for the reveiwed site's approval? It's already been made clear that the mention was positive.

Sorry if I sound's just that, as a native English-speaker who is learning Finnish, I can testify to how much time and effort Finnish-to-English translation can take!

The online translator is really pretty funny, though.

Online translation programs fail for Finnish because it's a highly inflected language: 15 cases for each noun (with a singular and plural form and many possible meanings for each case), very heavy use of participles (each of which takes the same 15 cases), and lots of extra particles that can be attached to the end of the already-declined nouns. The particles can mean anything from "this sentence is a question." to "I performed the action denoted by this participle" to "not this either."

Finnish also has word order that can differ drastically from English word order, and third person pronouns that don't specify gender.

On top of all of this, Finnish has many constructions that just can't be translated into English smoothly. These include a passive form that is not at all equivalent to the English passive, a verb form between the active and the conditional (so there's a form for imagined action AND one for actions that you are pretty certain took place, but can't be sure), and intransitive verbs that are equivalent to the passive in English, but different in Finnish.

It seems that your translation program's response to all of this was to leave most of the inflected words in Finnish. This resulted in gobbeldygook, since almost all of the words in any given sentence are inflected! :)

Just to be absolutely clear: the above opinion is my own, and I am not Ilkka Kokkarinen, nor do I even know him (nor am I Finnish!). So my crankiness about Lynne's post is entirely my own..

My dear !,
If my comment seemed rude to you I am very sorry. I asked because I have an interest in what might be said by others in regard to Ed's blog. I meant no disrespect I might add.
I am Ed's fiance and I appreciate your general translating. I had no idea it was so complicated to translate from Finnish to English.
Thank you.

As it was already said above, my blog entry contained several unrelated things in one posting. Only the last paragraphs refers to DftCW. (For some reason, I just can't bring myself to make a posting that consists of only a single paragraph, but put lots of unrelated little things together.)

As for my views on the DftCW postings that I linked to, I simply linked to the postings that I myself liked the best. There is no need for me to comment those postings, since if someone follows the links to the original postings, they already speak for themselves.

Next time when I have a few hours to kill, I will find some other good blog, read through its archives and link to the best postings there. I wish I knew where all the best blogs reside, but I am confident that the power law of interblog linking will eventually lead me to them with a probability of 1.

By Ilkka Kokkarinen (not verified) on 31 Jul 2004 #permalink

Well, after that Finnish lesson, I'll never complain about German again. Let's be thankful English has only one "the" and one "it."

I don't mean to imply that translation is impossible...and paraphrasing is easy (as it is in any language - read the paragraph and then re-state what it said in general terms.)

All of the odd grammar stuff is amusing because it breaks the computer..none of it would give a native speaker a moment's pause.

I was just pointing out that doing a real, word-for-word translation - taking reasonably literate Finnish and turning it into the same number of reasonably literate English sentences - is not a small task. That's true even for someone who is a native Finnish speaker and a fluent English speaker. So a casual request for a translation of a page's worth of prose isn't all that casual a request.

: ) Sorry to be cranky.

I'd just like to say thanks to Ilkka for the links and I'm glad you found my writing interesting.


My favorite line from your blog is:

Joka kerta kun olen ulkona kävellessäni nähnyt jossain uuden mainoskyltin tällaisesta rakennuksesta, olen Homer Simpsonin tapaan nostanut nyrkit ylös ja sanonut "Woo-hoo!"

I have no idea what that means, but I still think it's great.

I would love for my site to be linked by a Finnish blog -- especially in the context of a post about running into a badly overweight man on the bus, and deceptive advertisements.

Seriously, I am very interested in the international power of the internet. I have been randomly linked by a Danish blog and a Spanish blog, and both links were a special treat for me. I can't read Danish, but I read that Spanish blog on occasion. I'm also trying to find some good German-language blogs, as that is a language I have been learning over the past 2-3 years. Reading blogs seems like a good way to practice your foreign language skills.


[quote=!]It seems that your translation program's response to all of this was to leave most of the inflected words in Finnish. This resulted in gobbeldygook, since almost all of the words in any given sentence are inflected! :)[/quote]


Just to be clear, I was not making fun of the Finnish language, but the hopeless result one often gets using these translation programs. They routinely give nonsense even for common relatively simple languages, let alone for those as complex and nuanced as Finnish.

It did get the date right, so kudos for that. :)