user since
Fri Feb 15 2002 at 17:53:10 (15.8 years ago )
last seen
Tue Feb 10 2004 at 06:15:18 (13.8 years ago )
number of write-ups
1 - View schlemazl's writeups (feed)
level / experience
0 (Initiate) / 12
mission drive within everything
Like the Watergate Plumbers: here to stop the leaks.
specialties
Shenanigans, Tomfoolery, Hooliganism, Hijinks
motto
You just can't keep those Kennedys down, but you can't blame God for trying.
most recent writeup
Aberdeen, Washington
Send private message to schlemazl

Self-made pauper.
Born in the state of Washington in the late 1970's and transplanted to Arizona by a hyper-localized hurricane-force wind and rain storm in mid-August 1997. The cause of the storm was later identified as a small hispicanic boy known to locals as "el Niño," which translates: "the small hispanic boy."

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

double translated (English-Portuguese-English) by Babel Fish
part of the Translating Poetry project

Two roads diverged in one works with wood turns yellow,
and sorry I could not travel ambo
and to be a traveller, long I stow
and looked at below one in such a way how much I could
where if he folded in undergrowth;
Fêz examination then of the other, so only how much just,
and having perhaps the claim best,
because it was grassy and dear consuming;
Though how much for the this the ticket
them had consumed there really more or less identical,
and both that the morning places ingualmente inside
do not leave no stage had stepped on the black color.
Oh, I kept the first one for one another day!
However knowing the way he leads on the a way,
I I doubted if I to always come back.
I will be saying this with ages of one sigh
in some place and ages daqui:
Two roads diverged in one works with wood, and I
I had more less made examination of this travelled close,
and that fêz all the difference.

Some Babelfish poetry is quite suprisingly poetic. Not the case with this piece. Our translating friend seems to have run amok adding extra words here and there willy nilly. The overall result is a clunky, slowly limping, prosaic mess. However it's not without its quasi-poetic moments (e.g. "and to be a traveller, long I stow") and there are a few fascinating revelations about the nature of Bablefish.
Babelfish seems to have taken more liberty with this poem than it does with most. It has chosen to leave many words and phrases in the intermediate language. At first I was annoyed and considered a quick editing job to make the translation more readable.
Soon however there appeared to be some method to Babelfish's madness, and I decided to let its translation stand as is, uninterpolated. You'll see why shortly.
  • Notice how the translator has gone out of it's way to make the first three lines rhyme. It might seem like a coincidence, but upon further inspection one discovers that three rather drastic aberrations were necessary to achieve this effect:
    1. In line 1 "a yellow wood" has become "wood turns yellow."
    2. In line 2 "ambo," the Portuguese word for "both" has been retained.
    3. In line 3 "stood" has been inexplicably changed to "stow." (Obviously, Babelfish subscribes to the school of poetry translation which holds that a good rhyme scheme takes priority over accurate translation.)
  • Line 6: Babelfish seems to have an affinity for Turkish Party hats. What is more, it has adopted an archaic form of word-picture-art where instead of simply writing "Fez" it draws the word itself wearing a hat: "Fêz"
  • Line 9: The language is vague, but it seems that in this version at least one of the paths is a toll road.
  • Line 12: the noun "leaves" has become a plea, "do not leave," adding much to the overall urgency of the poem.
  • In the end (the last three lines) we learn that, for Babelfish (which being a software-based entity has no legs) the difference comes from simply making close examination of others travelling the two roads. To my mind, the contrast between this account and Frost's is a profound insight into the world as seen through the "eyes" of a computer program.

And that, fellow noders, fêz all the difference.