Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Google UI language localizations are one big mess, evidently for all languages claimed, except maybe Bork-bork-bork, Klingon, Pig Latin, and Elmer Fudd. I can be certain about Russian Google localizations where Google search page puts incredible juvenile slang "Картинки" instead of correct "Изображения" for Images, plus THREE more mistakes in barely half dozen words. There's virtually hundreds more translational mistakes in Russian Google beyond its main page.
I can be certain about Japanese Google UI where very bad rendition of the trademarked term "Google アドワーズ広告" is used in parallel with correct "Google AdSense". "Google アドワーズ広告" is one very ugly "fake gairaijin accent", or "Engrish" as Wikipedia puts it, and it's completely out of place.
I'm not so certain about Chinese Google though, but my preliminary analysis shows that simplified Chinese follows traditional Chinese way too close, and in essence is probably just a careless transliteration. This and Taiwanese-accented indexing of Continental Chinese resources might be the main reason why Google lost search engine battle to Baidu there.
Inviting non-paid volunteer translators of unknown qualifications to clean after horrible machine translations is a very bad practice and now amounts to a costly mistake. Arbitrarily closing some languages for translations so all the mistakes will stick out is even a bigger mistake. I'd call this headless, QA-less, and sloppy process with a new gairaigo: GOOLOCALIZATIONS.

(Any commercial use of translations and corrections made here and in the following postings without the author's consent is prohibited.)


In the Soviet era the world biggest carrier Aeroflot was planning a non-stop route to San Francisco. Mineta International Airport as an emergency landing strip was ruled out by Aeroflot authorities at once, as another obscene imperialist joke. The problem was that Mineta International Airport in a careless Russian translation sounded like International Airport of Blowjob.

Nowadays sloppy translations for Google produce numerous linguistic bastardizations. Google's Russian, for example, bears all the signs of what I'd call punk Russian. As a linguistic occurrence, punk Russian is heavily accented, intrinsically illiterate, marginal jargon, a street product (where the majority of Russian volunteer translators came from.)

No wonder that a serious Russian researcher prefers local,, and whatnot, to do searches in Russian resources. Besides, the Google's results are usually ten times shallower when phrases, or Russian flectivities are being searched.

Punk Russian in Google's localizations must not be tolerated any more, or the Baidu incident will happen again. To give an idea of what Russians read in Russian Google main page, here's precise back translation from Russian:

['Schmoogle' in colored Catull face here; Schlogger blocks it]
on American

Web Pitchers Groups News Froogle Local more

Google search I'm Feeling Lucky

Advertising Codes Business Solutions About Google

Copyright 2005 Goolocalizations

OK, 'Schmoogle' might be an overkill as an equivalent for punk Russian "Гугло" or "Гугель", but the rest in red are exact translations. For this class of localization, there is a good punk Russian term через жопу. Mildly put, it means "awkward". Literal meaning of it is not so mild, as it's a shortened form of через жопу гланды дёргать, which is "pull one's tonsils via one's asshole": topologically feasible but yes, awkward.


Blogger tomtom said...

I can be certain about Japanese Google UI where very bad rendition of the trademarked term "Google アドワーズ広告" is used in parallel with correct "Google AdSense". "Google アドワーズ広告" is one very ugly "fake gairaijin accent", or "Engrish" as Wikipedia puts it, and it's completely out of place.

spell 'AdWords' in Japanese for me. Go on, do it. "アドワーズ" is correct. It's not a Japanese word, it's not even an English word, it's an English-based trademark phrase.
"The main uses of katakana in modern Japanese are... Transcription of words from foreign languages (called gairaigo). For example, "television" is written terebi テレビ."

It's even in Wikipedia! It's not bastardised / poor-form "Engrish" on Google's part at all.

2:51 AM  
Blogger localudal said...

QUOTE ... it's an English-based trademark phrase.UNQUOTE

Good part, if you understand what you have written here. Almost good. Because your thinking never goes beyond 'trademark' conventions and corruptions. When I was studying Japanese lexicography 25 years ago, there were dozens of similar bastards, like 'IBM' rendered in katakana.
Only some old dictionaries list these, just for showing incorrect forms/usage.

Now, with 'AdSense' having equal 'trademark' status, and displayed as such, in Latin letters on the same page, what the use of 'adwaazu there? What is the message?

My message is clear: one need to care about trademarked words/neologisms, especially about those which rake billions. Like IBM did. Do you know how literate Russians spell 'IBM'? You now probably guessed it right: it's just 'IBM'. The same polite treatment is reserved for 'AdWords', 'AdSense'.

On the other hand, if you feel like enriching Japanese proper with as many Engrish-isms, why leave 'AdSense' untouched?

In any case, thank you for your comment, however angry it seems to me.

3:12 PM  

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