I confess to a soft spot for the Style Invitational, a weekly puzzle/word game/whatever run by the Washington Post’s fab features section. It’s sort of an upmarket parlor game of widely varying tests of skill, hard to describe, but rarely boring.

Scroll past this week’s bizarre challenge to the results of last week’s: Feed text to Google’s translating engine, then feed the result back into English. I should make you click through to read first place, but it’s too good not to share right here:

Original text: I am the worst president elected ever. (From French) I am the worst president never elected.

You had to know it would be French, didn’t you?

The rest are pretty funny, too. As the judges said, we don’t think real translators have any fear for their jobs just yet.

Posted at 4:50 pm in Uncategorized |

4 responses to “Puzzlers.”

  1. deb said on April 29, 2004 at 8:28 pm

    my 13-year-old and his friends have been doing this for a while, to great comic effect.

    my favorite: translate “kiss my white butt” to french, then back to english. the result? “embrace my white end.”

    what an excellent time sink!

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  2. John Ritter said on April 30, 2004 at 8:01 am

    “We have ways of making you talk.” to German to French, then back to English: “We have the manners of training you to it conversation.”

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  3. Jesica said on April 30, 2004 at 10:33 am

    The Invitational is the first thing I read in the Sunday paper. It’s descended from or related to a similar feature that used to appear in New York Magazine.

    The best NYMagazine one ever was a prequels contest, from which I remember Playing with Sticks in Gaza as the most outstanding.

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  4. Paul said on May 1, 2004 at 2:08 am

    Weingarten has said, somewhere, that the SI was a ripoff of the NYT’s.

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