May 06, 2008

Automatic Hinglish

Google Translate now offers translation from English to Hindi and vice versa. Type in some text and check out the results. Chances are you'll get some garbled nonsense, but with computer-generated translation, that's par for the course. What's surprising is that if you translate from English to Hindi and convert the results back to English, some of the original text is restored. Here's a portion of Hamlet's soliloquy in Google Hindi:

' Tis एक consummation
श्रद्धापूर्वक को wish'd. करने के लिए मौत की नींद के लिए.
नींद के स्वप्न को perchance करने के लिए: सॉफ्टवेयर, यही तो कठिनाई है!

That's completely meaningless, of course. But feed this drivel to the Google translator, and it becomes Shakespeare again - with a few improvements.

'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to wish'd. To death for sleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream: software, there's the rub!

Software, there's the rub: truer words have never been spoken. Coming up: Surdas in Hinglish ('Surdas, Braja is very bad now, kahe not let ubare') and Google's take on hip-hop lyrics, which is so polite, you'll never feel the need for a Parental Advisory ('Shake your booty' translates as 'Hilayein apni loot').