Monday, April 25, 2016

Brazilian Men without Women and the Surprises of Google Translate App

A Brazilian Portuguese translation of Onna no inai otokotachi (Men without Women) came out from Editora Objective in January 2015 in a translation by Eunice Suenaga.
The title, Homens sem mulheres has "women" in plural, as in most European versions. I also became curious what happened to Kitaru's Kansai dialect in "Yesterday." Here is the first exchange between Kitaru and the narrator, which I have quoted in earlier posts in other languages.

––  Kitaru é um sobrenome raro, né? –– eu disse.
–– É, é bem raro –– ele respondeu.
–– No Chiba Lotte Marines tinha um arremessador com esse sobrenome. 
–– Ah, ele não tem relação com a gente. Mas, como é um sobrenome bem raro, talvez a gente seja parente distante. (p. 48)

I don't speak Portuguese, but friends tell me that there is not trace of a dialect in Kitaru's speech. 

On another topic: recently I saw on Facebook an advertisement for Google Translate app, which said that you could read and translate signs by posting your phone at them. I decided to try it out for reading covers of Murakami translations. (You open the app, choose the languages you want to translate from and to, and press on the camera icon. Then move your phone over the image with the words you want to read.) 

Here are some of the somewhat surprising results. 

These are some of the translations of the Brazilian cover.  The app clearly struggleswith the words "Haruki Murakami."


Below are some translations of the Russian cover of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki. Here, too, the writer's name turns out to be a major obstacle. The first picture is the normal cover, for comparison.

And here is the Turkish Tsukuru Tazaki and its "translation," in which "Haruki Murakami" becomes "Genuine Interview..."

But joking aside, it is an amazing app, allowing one to figure out just enough to know what the title is. And it seems like it would be really convenient when traveling. Unless, of course, one has to deal with proper names... It seems to work a little differently with Japanese or Chinese (you have to "align text" first), but it does work.