Thursday, May 15, 2008

Talk Back Thursday

I'll explain the image later in this post, but first:
Thank you to Christina, Summerset, Claire and Christine for "talking back" to my Friday Confession last week! I showed a picture of Milly, one of our cats, comfortably ensconced on the chair in my sewing room and asked who else had company in her sewing room? Cats ruled the day, with almost everyone having one or more feline sewing companions. Summerset mentioned that her children and husband often come into her sewing room to hang out too! I'm not surprised - reading her blog makes me think that I wish I could hang out in her sewing room with them all... :)

I also wanted to thank Amanda for her good advice for my Spanish sewing lessons, and especially for pointing out that Simplicity patterns DO have instructions in Spanish! I started to feel stupid for not realizing this, but that feeling was quickly swamped with happiness over the realization that I CAN use commercial patterns from my local Joann's store in my sewing lessons! Yea!

And I have to give a special thank-you to Claire for all her encouraging comments! If I hit some rough patches with these lessons down the road, I just know that re-reading those messages is going to carry me through!

Okay, so what's with the pictures? They represent the interesting vagaries of machine translation. I knew from the beginning that machine translation is fallible, so one technique I have been using to (hopefully!) minimize errors in the Spanish sentences that I prepare ahead of time for our lessons is to open Alta Vista's Babel Fish twice, in two different windows.

I set one window for English-to-Spanish translation and the other for Spanish-to-English translation. Before I accept the proposed Spanish translation of one of my English sentences, I doublecheck it by reverse-translating it back into English. Considering that I am using the SAME program each time, you wouldn't really expect any surprises, would you?

Okay, most of the time it works pretty well. Sometimes it is a little bit garbled by the time it comes back to English - in which case I try to come up with a more direct and simple way to rephrase the English sentence. But every once in a while I get a real doozy!

For example: "This skirt has a ruffle." was translated to "Esta falda tiene una colmena."

AND "Esta falda tiene una colmena" was reverse translated to "This skirt has a beehive."

Yikes - ruffle? beehive? I don't think of those two words as all that interchangeable...

So, I started visiting other sites to find the Spanish word for ruffle. Another site suggested "volante fruncido". Given that the section on gathering and ruffles in the Spanish book on sewing was entitled "Fruncido", this seemed promising.

Babel fish, however wasn't having it. Now my sentence reverse translates from "Esta falda tiene una volante fruncido" to "This skirt has a gathered steering wheel."

Ruffles and beehives and steering wheels, oh my! ;)


Claire said...

LOL!!!! I love to laugh and you've made my day. Ruffles to beehives to steering wheels...oh my!!! ;o)

Summerset said...

You're welcome to the studio any time! Just be prepared to brave the herd and the thread on the floor.

You're doing a great job working with these Spanish women - you're giving them an opportunity to learn a great skill. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

ROFLOL! Thank goodness for Simplicity in Spanish, then!

Christine said...

Hey I kind of wish my steering wheel had ruffles. :)

Well maybe not...