Saturday, 6 March 2010

Translation is a specialised practice that requires a high degree of human intervention. Like making a bed or pouring a cup of coffee, there are some things that machines just cannot do effectively. Maybe Google will find an answer, but going by the results on the Koto Ward page on balance you'd have to say that automated translation sucks.

Big time. Here's a sample news story from the Tokyo City ward's home page:

This year, a horsetail, one after another♪.

A horsetail has also begun to call on an alameda in a Yokojyukengawa water park (Toyo 6-Chome frontage) this year.
The horsetail checked on this day is about 30. The thickness of the part of height about 2-15cm and a head is about 3-7mm. The size and the shape are various something NYOKKIRI overhangs from the small one which has just taken out a head from earth.
location is the spot which is about 100 m to the east from a plain dwelling bridge in the promenade in about 400 m of east and west between four TSU eye street (from city government office, about 150 m north side)-plain dwelling bridge (HIRAZUMI, when, with the selling point of). I grow around the shrubbery, and when I often strain my eyes, it's possible to find it.
A horsetail has also come out this year for the female of the residence in city who came along by a walk, has not it? I'm looking forward to it every year,", and, it was the state which speaks and appreciates a visit in spring.

Thank log they included a picture, which shows some sort of spring vegetable emerging from the earth - presumably in Koto Ward.

Admittedly, the Koto Ward administrators were aware of the shortcomings of their site. Before being able to see any "English-language" content on the site, they show you a disclaimer. But in the light of the above, it's fairly humorous to read what they advise:

Please keep in mind that the translation system doesn't guarantee 100% accuracy. It's possible that some words, including proper nouns, might be translated inaccurately. Thank you.

Well, that's a relief! But "doesn't permit comprehension" might be slightly more accurate that "doesn't guarantee 100% accuracy", I think!

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