Re: WAS: On the possibility of encoding some localizable sentences ... NOW: Linguistic Humor (WARNING: off-topic)

From: Stephan Stiller (
Date: Fri Jan 28 2011 - 23:41:07 CST

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    Dear list,

    > Probably off-topic for this list --you've been forewarned!-- but
    > proves John's point quite nicely ... or at least quite humorously! ;-)
    > [...]
    I doubt that this proves John's point. Tokio Hotel is actually just
    being childish and intentionally giving translations that diverge from
    the intended meaning in a way that is perhaps best described as "coarse".

    >> There are few, if any, sentences that, in every language AND IN EVERY
    >> CONTEXT are always translated exactly the same way. Even such simple things
    >> as "Thank you" have, for instance, multiple possible translations in many
    >> languages, depending on the situation, the speaker's gender, the recipient's
    >> age, etc. There is almost never one and only one correct translation
    >> ESPECIALLY for the simple sentences one might imagine going into such a
    >> database. These are exactly the kind of utterance with the greatest
    >> ambiguity.
    I couldn't agree more. For instance, "thank you" has two
    (morphologically non-overlapping) translations in Cantonese, which are
    both used frequently in situations which a casual tourist could get into.

    Stephan Stiller
    Department of Computer Science
    Stanford University

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