This is fun, uses google translation. It uses japanese but i'm sure a chinese one could be made easily.
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.
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. :)
"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 fiancé, 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...
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.
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.
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!
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).
Originally Posted by Andartar
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.
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.