Google Translates Crime Fiction

Here are three translations of the first paragraph of Matti Joensuu’s excellent psychological crime novel Harjunpää ja rakkauden nälkä, which was published last year in English under the title To Steal Her Love. Can you tell which one is the google translation?

A faint sound emerged from the night; or maybe it was an almost imperceptible smell that drifted out of the darkness, soothing somehow, like the smell that comes off of boats and wet wooden docks, and though Tweety didn’t grasp it intellectually, he felt how it affected him. It very nearly discharged something inside him, opened it up like a jammed valve in the back of his mind, and all at once he realized that he still had the power.

The night emitted a faint sound, or perhaps it was a smell, imperceptibly wafting out of the darkness, something soothing like the smell of boats and wet jetty planks, and though Tweety couldn’t quite put his finger on it, he could feel the effect it had on him. It triggered something inside him, opened a hatch long clamped shut at the bottom of his mind, and in a flash he realised that his powers were intact after all.

Night was very quiet voice, or it pimeyksistä floated almost imperceptible scent, something soothing in the same way as what leaves the crab boats and wooden pier, and although Tweety did not reach all the järjellään, he knew how it affected him. It is approximately triggered something in him, opened his mind than the bottoms of the door and jumitelleen glimpse he realized that his strength was still there after all.

This is actually a way above-average google translation from the Finnish. It is interesting to note that all three translators, human and robot, translate the character’s name, which is Tipi in the original, as Tweety. This is due to their shared knowledge of Warner Brothers cartoons.

More google translations


~ by lolarusa on September 2, 2010.

2 Responses to “Google Translates Crime Fiction”

  1. I prefer the second translation. Who or what provided the first?

  2. The first translation is mine, from an excerpt published in Words Without Borders, the second is David Hackston’s, from the published novel, and the third is, of course, by the robot.

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