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su_liam
02-15-2010, 01:37 PM
So I've been using babelfish for quite some time to create somewhat valid names in languages with latin orthography. Yeah, I sometimes use babelfish for Russian or Greek, but transcription is a pain in the cloaca. Now, I've been using Google Translate(http://translate.google.com), because of it's selection of languages. Indonesian? Sweet! But, I just realized, Google Translate has romanization for a few languages, like Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Greek, Korean and, after a fashion, Thai. Sadly, no romanization for Hebrew or Arabic. Grr. Still, I can drop in the occasional Firefly-Chinese curse, "zh nǐ shēng hu zi yǒu xiē yǒu q de sh di," for instance. Yeah, no Latin either. I'll have to keep my English-Latin/Latin-English dictionary for awhile, I guess.

su_liam
02-15-2010, 01:57 PM
White mountains - bi shān
Blood river - xu li chng h
Field of gold - jīn chǎng
iron palace - tiě gōng
Emerald City - fěi cu chng
City of Angels - tiān shǐ zhī chng
City of Roses - mi guī chng

mearrin69
02-15-2010, 02:13 PM
Cool stuff. I posted some other general chinese names in the Cartographic Terminology thread [link (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1320-Cartographic-Terminology&p=95183&viewfull=1#post95183)]. Honestly never thought of using Babelfish...silly me.
M

torstan
02-15-2010, 03:04 PM
Yep, I've been using google translate for a bit too. It's really nice and seems to mostly make sense. Better than my previous experience of Babelfish, but that was a while ago now.

TBF
02-16-2010, 06:53 AM
The Translator may work for several words, but when you try to translate sentences or groups of words (like City of Roses), you shouldn't show the result to a native. Normaly it is a catastrophe.

su_liam
02-16-2010, 03:33 PM
"Dude! That ain't proper Chinese!"
"That's okay. D Gu isn't China."

EDIT:
I can't speak to the English-to-{$x} translations, 'cause I don't speak {$x}. But the {$x}-to-English translations have been getting progressively better in the last couple of years. I used to only use computer translation to create interesting semi-realistic names for people, places and things, but recently I have actually found translated webpages to lack much of the old "all you base" ambiance. YMMV, but hey...

mearrin69
02-16-2010, 04:37 PM
I'm not a native speaker but I can't see what's wrong with mei gui cheng. I'd have gone with mei gui shi, but it sounds okay to me. What should it have been?
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su_liam
02-16-2010, 04:51 PM
I think it was a general comment about reliability. "City" is pretty easy. Probably no worries there. "City of Happy Prancing Ponies Happily Cavorting Through the Streets" Might come out a little odd. BTW, I guess that was, "pǎo mǎ sh yu mǎ xiǎo mǎ lng rn gāo xng de sh zi jiē shng xī no."

Given that I'm not too fixated on a perfect translation, I would probably make alterations to suit my own aesthetics. Instead of, "xu li chng h," for, "Blood River," I might use, "Xu-Li Chng ," or something. Maybe drop the diacritics.

Naah! I like my diacritics! Deathtngue, forever!

mearrin69
02-17-2010, 12:33 AM
Run "pǎo mǎ sh yu mǎ xiǎo mǎ lng rn gāo xng de sh zi jiē shng xī no" back through the translator. I bet you get "What...?!? Someone set us up the bomb!"

I fully expect my setting to be full of "all your base"-alikes. My Chinese is very rusty and never was all *that* great to begin with. :) Maybe sounds okay to us yang guizi though.
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su_liam
02-17-2010, 03:49 AM
Sadly, even the google translator can only output pinyin. I don't know of anything to convert a string of pinyin into Chinese. Or English, for that matter...

Coyotemax
02-17-2010, 04:02 AM
This is fun, uses google translation. It uses japanese but i'm sure a chinese one could be made easily.

http://translationparty.com/

as an example, using one of the quotes from su liam's sig... 50 iterations gives this:
Common interest, two of the three legs 122,121, all my hair, good and evil, good and evil, the story of the battle of the three-foot high resistance.

mearrin69
02-17-2010, 09:11 AM
That looks like some kind of very (VERY!1!) odd poetry.

Turning pinyin into characters (or English) is a rough thing even if you've got tones. Unless you've got a lot of context (like two character combos instead of single characters: chengshi instead of cheng or shi alone) it's hard to tell what the heck a phrase is saying. Your prancing ponies thing is the perfect example; I can't make heads nor tails of it. That stuff from Firefly is even worse for me because most of the pronunciation on the show was so poor. You know the poem about forty-four wet stone lions? Sishisi shi shi shizi or whatever it is...my teachers had trouble telling it to us. Makes She sells seashells seem like child's play. :)
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su_liam
02-17-2010, 06:07 PM
"Bilbo. Birubobaginzu. Adventures of all these small bits of gray-ho."

Was it maybe thinking, "greyest little Hobbit?"

A long time ago, I translated, "This is my lovely fianc, Stephanie," into French and back. It was mostly gibberish with the word, "fianc," and a randomly-located acute accent.
On this site it reached equilibrium at, "This is good for me Fiansesutefani."

The more things change...

TBF
02-25-2010, 03:11 PM
as su_liam mentioned, it is just an example. I have seen several translations from english texts into german texts by the google translator and the results were horrible. Really.
In the most cases it will translate you single words right (well, in most cases), but groups and sentences often do not make any sence.

Andartar
03-02-2010, 10:46 AM
I have the same experiences as TBF, being a native speaker of Swedish, I sometimes run some texts through Google translate (Swedish -> English) to see what I end up with and the results are comprehensible at best. Usually the vocabulary used isn't what a native speaker would use. But as a way to come up with fanciful pseudo-[random language] names I think it's perfect. Tolkien did the same with the names used by the Rohirrim in the LOTR. He took Old English words and adjusted them until they sounded "right". Being an imagined world sort of removes the need for absolute correct grammatics and such.

su_liam
03-02-2010, 07:36 PM
Exactly, Andartar. Anybody sees a flaw in my German, well... it ain't German, it's Tarkensprach or whatever.

In science fiction worlds set in the future it's harder. German represents... German. Still, Google Translate is probably better than anything I, a decidedly monolingual individual, is going to create. Still anybody who complains about my poor naming is directed to examine, "Nous Voila," in a professional game publication(2300AD).

In any case, I'm still pretty impressed by the progress that has been made in machine translation. It's not that the dog talks well, it's that he talks at all!

Csar de Quart
03-04-2010, 08:00 PM
I have the same experiences as TBF, being a native speaker of Swedish, I sometimes run some texts through Google translate (Swedish -> English) to see what I end up with and the results are comprehensible at best. Usually the vocabulary used isn't what a native speaker would use. But as a way to come up with fanciful pseudo-[random language] names I think it's perfect. Tolkien did the same with the names used by the Rohirrim in the LOTR. He took Old English words and adjusted them until they sounded "right". Being an imagined world sort of removes the need for absolute correct grammatics and such.

Yes, I prefer this option too. As I said in the "how do you name your world" thread, I'd better use existing languages in the Middle Ages rather than inventing some. Even though I had to make up an Elvish language, which is spoken by a third of my contintent's inhabitants, I based its phonetics and grammar highly in Greek, because I thought that Greek's ability to express metaphorical and abstract concepts fit better into Elvish nature, while the humans who decided not to accept commercial treaties with the Elves spoke Latin. 1400 years later, they still speak a quite pure form of Elvish, while the other half of the continent speaks either a Romanesque language (mainly Occitan, Medieval Spanish, Francian, Anglo-Norman and Medieval Latin), a Celtic tongue (Welsh, Cornish, Scottish Gaelic and Irish) or a Germanic language (Old English, Gothic, Old Norse, Middle Saxon (which today is Low German), Middle Bavarian (which today is High German) and some other minor languages).

I had to make up some other languages, but not really from scrathc, but from another language. For example: Erlish is actually Gothic evolved to adapt Basque phonetics and some of its grammar and vocabulary, because a rogue Germanic people assented in an area inhabited by sort-of-Basques. Those Basques made the Latin in the shouth evolve into Spanish (Spanish was caused by the influence of Basque into Latin, historically) and, in the north, they contacted with those Goths. I had to recreate their language evolution. Kind of funny, actually.

Take care!

su_liam
06-21-2010, 12:12 PM
Oh happy day! I was messing with Google Translate today and found a small happy change. It now does transliteration for Arabic. It's an odd transliteration, but it's workable. Now for a Hebrew transliteration...

Part of the problem with Romanization schemes is that for most languages, no standard exists. For Chinese we have Pinyin, Wade-Giles and a few dozen freak schemes. For Arabic there's nothing, just whatever freak scheme a given author pulled out of his... mind.

Babel. What some call gibberish, others call freedom.