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#1 2008-01-26 10:15:12

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

"outrage" for "outage" / machine-translation wackiness

(I realized after I’d written this that Ken Lakritz had beaten me to the outage/outrage idea over two years ago. But since my write-up took an unexpected turn to the weird, I decided just to post all of it. The odd stuff starts after the first bunch of indented citations.)

California is being battered by a succession of storms right now, so electrical outages are on my mind. Somewhere I saw “electrical outrage,” so I decided to go looking for more instances. The phrase makes a certain eggcornish sense – outages certainly spark outrage. But I think this is usually malapropic, and I’ve therefore posted it down here on “Slips, etc.” In the first section below, I give some of the more prosaic examples I found:

ICU Library website, icluding WebOPAC, will be temporary closed due to electrical outrage for campus electricity check. Excuse us for any incovenniences caused in advance.
http://www-lib.icu.ac.jp/News/index-e.htm

SUNEX Compact Series can operate without pumps so that they can operate independently without issues such as electrical outrage or electrical pump breakdown.
http://www.gechome.com/ourStrengths.php

I believe what had happen was that there was an electrical outrage
and I believe that burned that hard drive, or whatever.
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jsp … ID=5045138

But following the trail of “electrical outrage” led me deep into the heart of machine-translation madness. A number of different gadget websites that offer examples of “electrical outrage” all seem to be related. They’re all set up in exactly the same way, and they all provide product descriptions that have been mangled by Babelfish or some other machine-translation software. The results are kind of spectacular. For instance, this is taken from a description of a set of arm-wrestling gloves that shock the losing arm-wrestler:

On the hinder of the glove is a grim button that triggers the electrical outrage whenever pressure level is constrained immediately after it.
http://toysatr.com/gags-and-practical-jokes/

In this case, “electrical outrage” probably is a little closer to what was intended than “electrical outage”—“electric shock” is probably what they meant. I also like “hinder of the glove” and “grim button,” but the full description of the item is amazing; the translation is an utter mess, but you can somehow follow the basic idea:

This is the incapable of further analysis mark colonist. The lordly interest of arm wrestling has allowed immature men to try out their toughness and settle down arguments in a tried and well-tried mediaeval way. We feature added a new twine in the estimation of a scandalize, an electrical appal to be punctilious to the runty also-ran who testament make up notwithstanding his deficiency of elbow grease! Alternatively, of trend, you could simply habituate it as a play leisure time briskness amongst friends at a company. If you same a competitory gritty of arm wrestling at present and and so, the Shocking Arm Wrestling Game testament do trusted your opposing knows he is the also-ran by gift an electrical appall. Each rival puts on the gloves and places their elbows on the pads. Lock custody and bend your muscles and go for your animation to refrain from the appal. When unitary contestant forces the other’s deal downward, the losers glove emits a little electrical scandalise. On the hinder of the glove is a grim button that triggers the electrical outrage whenever pressure level is constrained immediately after it.
http://toysatr.com/gags-and-practical-jokes/

As a “runty also-ran” myself, I don’t think I’ll be trying the Shocking Arm Wrestling Game any time soon. In any case, I don’t think describing your own potential market as “immature men” is really good marketing.

And here’s another instance of outrage:

Victor® Electronic Mouse Trap Delivers electrical outrage to kill off mouse in seconds. Unique funnel plan engineered to forestall mouse from escaping.
http://outdoorliv.com/rodent-traps/3.html

But once again, the full description has pleasures that go beyond my target phrase:

Victor® Electronic Mouse Trap Delivers electrical outrage to kill off mouse in seconds. Unique funnel plan engineered to forestall mouse from escaping. Built-in refuge feature film deactivates building block if house is accidentally opened. 4 AA batteries trap roughly 50 mice. Indicator scant testament wink ruddy at the time that batteries demand to be replaced. Electronic Mouse Trap: Model M250 Spread peanut vine butter on privileged hind fence. Insert 4 AA batteries into stamp battery section. Identify locality immediately after mouse mode of action. Place Mouse0 on base in compensation for palisade. Keep the face through Mouse1 spellbind closest to the fence. Turn change to “on” place (-). Green scant testament winkle formerly, indicating that building block has been enabled.
http://outdoorliv.com/rodent-traps/3.html

Part of the fun of this is trying to recreate what the description should say in typical descriptionese. I think I’ve got a good rendering for “Indicator scant testament wink ruddy at the time that batteries demand to be replaced.” It was probably intended to be something like “The low battery indicator will blink red when the batteries need to be replaced.” In some ways, though, I prefer “wink ruddy” to “blink red.” Most English speakers need to take “ruddy” out for a walk more often than they do. I also like “mouse mode of action.”

One last example:

Caution: Vinyl covered handles do non bring home the bacon insularity adverse to electrical outrage from unrecorded wires.
http://toolsmet.com/pliers/95.html

“Bring home the bacon”? I can’t even imagine the input that led to this output. In any case, there’s lots more where these came from – click on any of the links for the last three examples, and you’ll find 100s more examples of some of the worst online machine translations I’ve ever encountered.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2008-01-26 10:24:29)

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#2 2008-01-27 21:15:30

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2137

Re: "outrage" for "outage" / machine-translation wackiness

Do you suppose “bring home the bacon” is “provide” or “provide for?”

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#3 2008-01-27 22:59:48

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: "outrage" for "outage" / machine-translation wackiness

Yes, you nailed it, Kem!: “Vinyl-covered handles do not provide insulation against electrical shock from unrecorded wires.” “Unrecorded” has to be something like “bare, uncoated,” but I don’t see the semantic pathway between the word used and what was meant.

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#4 2008-01-28 01:12:00

booboo
Eggcornista
From: Austin, Tx
Registered: 2007-04-01
Posts: 179

Re: "outrage" for "outage" / machine-translation wackiness

If I’m having mouse trouble, I WANT them killed by electrical outrage. Serves them right. Hell, I’ll pay extra.

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#5 2008-01-28 01:27:45

kem
Eggcornista
From: Victoria, BC
Registered: 2007-08-28
Posts: 2137

Re: "outrage" for "outage" / machine-translation wackiness

“Unrecorded” is “live,” as in “live wire.” You can get a handle on the translation substitutions by googling for “translatedword site:toolsmet.com” and comparing the tool descriptions on the site with posted descriptions of the same tool in real English.

This site reminds me of the Monty Python’s Hungarian phrasebook skit.

Last edited by kem (2008-01-28 01:29:09)

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#6 2008-01-28 05:28:06

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: "outrage" for "outage" / machine-translation wackiness

Using Kem’s suggestion, I went and tracked down some of the originals. Below, for Booboo, I bring home the bacon the original manufacturer’s description of the electronic mouse outrager, alongside the mangled translation. With the comparison, you can more easily see some of the skewed logic at work in, for instance, the third sentence below: “Built-in refuge feature film deactivates building block if house is accidentally opened. ” “Refuge” is clearly just a synonym for “safety.” “Feature” becomes “feature film”—we use “feature” as a shorthand for movies in English, so the translation program picked the wrong sense of “feature.” And “units” can certainly be “building blocks.” But how did the “door” become a “house”? Probably only a knowledge of the mediating language would answer that.

Now I finally understand why “live” wires are “unrecorded” —a musical performance that’s “live” is not a “recorded” performance. What I still don’t get however is why they don’t just hold onto the original manufacturer’s description in English, rather than translating and then re-translating everything.

Victor® Electronic Mouse Trap Delivers electrical shock to exterminate mouse in seconds. Unique tunnel design engineered to prevent mouse from escaping. Built-in safety feature deactivates unit if door is accidentally opened. 4 AA batteries trap approximately 50 mice. Indicator light will blink red when batteries need to be replaced. Electronic Mouse Trap: Model M250 Spread peanut butter on inside back wall. Insert 4 AA batteries into battery compartment. Identify location with mouse activity. Place trap on floor against wall. Keep the side with mouse entrance closest to the wall. Turn switch to “on” position (-). Green light will flash once, indicating that unit has been enabled.

Victor® Electronic Mouse Trap Delivers electrical outrage to kill off mouse in seconds. Unique funnel plan engineered to forestall mouse from escaping. Built-in refuge feature film deactivates building block if house is accidentally opened. 4 AA batteries trap roughly 50 mice. Indicator scant testament wink ruddy at the time that batteries demand to be replaced. Electronic Mouse Trap: Model M250 Spread peanut vine butter on privileged hind fence. Insert 4 AA batteries into stamp battery section. Identify locality immediately after mouse mode of action. Place Mouse0 on base in compensation for palisade. Keep the face through Mouse1 spellbind closest to the fence. Turn change to “on” place (-). Green scant testament winkle formerly, indicating that building block has been enabled.

Last edited by patschwieterman (2008-01-28 05:38:28)

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#7 2008-01-28 17:39:25

JonW719
Eggcornista
From: Colorado
Registered: 2007-09-05
Posts: 285

Re: "outrage" for "outage" / machine-translation wackiness

I think there is potential here for a whole new section of the site – Machine Translation Wackiness!

This is great.


Feeling quite combobulated.

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#8 2008-02-03 23:19:39

booboo
Eggcornista
From: Austin, Tx
Registered: 2007-04-01
Posts: 179

Re: "outrage" for "outage" / machine-translation wackiness

Maybe “house” came from container or housing. I’m glad the contraption outrages mice. Turnabout is fair play.

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#9 2008-07-01 19:59:13

rogerthat
Eggcornista
From: Denver, Colorado, USA
Registered: 2008-05-19
Posts: 64

Re: "outrage" for "outage" / machine-translation wackiness

Very entertaining find, Pat!

patschwieterman wrote:

<snip> “Vinyl-covered handles do not provide insulation against electrical shock from unrecorded wires.” “Unrecorded” has to be something like “bare, uncoated,” but I don’t see the semantic pathway between the word used and what was meant.

Do you suppose “Unrecorded” refers to something like “blank” as in “blank recording tape?” A possible semantic pathway between “blank” and “bare” might also make sense. But, kem’s “Live wire” still holds a lot of water.

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