Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sometimes It's Torture

Did you know The Korean word for "consultant" is the same as "torture"?
I was translating some Korean the other day and I was using A Korean to English Dictionary and the online translator, Babel Fish. I stumbled upon a word I didn't know, so I decided to use babel fish so I could brush up on my Korean typing skills. The word was 고문실 (pronounced Ko-moon shil). I typed it in the translation box and when I hit the translate button, Torture Room" appeared. Now with the reasoning skills I inherited from my family, I realized that Torture room didn't quite fit, so I reluctantly pulled out the old dictionary and found out that in this particular instant, 고문실 meant "Consultant's Office". A few things went through my thoughts when I made this discovery. First, "Man, Korean is confusing sometimes." Second, "computer programs don't have the reasoning skills of even unintelligent people." Third, "Could you imagine what it would be like if a babel fish couldn't feed off of brain waves and just gave the first meaning of a word with multiple definitions?"
Some of you may now be scratching your heads, while others are laughing, about the babel fish. "Let 'splain. No time, let me sum up." The babel fish is a creature with an extremely odd existance created by the genius mind of Douglas Adams in the first novel of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It feeds off of brain waves of individuals communicating with it's host and makes the communication understood by said host. To share the technical definition for those of you who aspire to engineers and love to explain everything in a way that can no longer be understood by those individuals who share the same field as you I have an exert from h2g2.com
"The Babel fish is a small, yellow and leechlike, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centers of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish." http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3728441
And for even more information:
So now that you have a little understanding of the babel fish you could imagine how tickled I felt when I started thinking about babel fish translating without discernment of the intent behind the words. People may go wonky and fear for their lives.
Just imagine it, Kim Jong-Il could want to negotiate with other nations for food and energy resources. The visit could be going along so well and the babel fish has yet to encounter any tricky words and all of a sudden, Mr. Kim tells the ambasadors that he is taking them to the (babel fish translation) torture room, Obviously meaning the Consultant's Office. The body guards of the ambassadors then tell their clients to run like crazy and start firing at small but very aggressive Korean Soldiers. In the cross fire Kim Jong-Il is killed creating an internaational incident making North Korea demonstrate that they do indeed have nuclear capabilities. They fire their missiles at the countries represented by the ambassadors. To the dismay of the Korean Government, they shortly find out that the discount craftsmen they used for the job of nuclear facilities made very ineffective nuclear weapons. In response to the use of Nuclear missiles all nations attacked by the substandard weapons fired all of their nuclear weapons at Noth Korea, destroying the entire Korean Peninsula, to include South Korea:( All of that nonsense because a simple fish made a simple mistake. Fish are silly.
Sorry about the randomness of this post, that's just how I roll.


1 comment:

Adhis said...

Too... much... learning...
Must... nap...