Lost in Translation

This is interesting. Using Google translate to convert a Spanish article on the Cordilleras to English produces an interesting, maybe “eyebrow-raising”, results. Consider this:

Los miembros de la tribu Igorot hace ya algunos años que dejaron de vestir su tradicional taparrabos o “bahad”, que ahora portan en ocasiones especiales, como bodas o festivales, y las mujeres tampoco lucen a diario el “tapis”, una falda blanca, negra y roja que deja al descubierto todo su torso.

English translation:
Members of the tribe Igorot few years ago that left their traditional dress loincloth or “bah”, which now carry on special occasions such as weddings and festivals, and women also look to the daily “tapis”, a white skirt , Black and red that lays bare all his torso.

As a Swiss friend used to say, “I’m lost. I’m lost trying to understand the English.”

Now, the Google translation for the next paragraph is somewhat controversial. I doubt if it is the correct translation but my Spanish is non-existent so I don’t know what the Spanish writer was really saying. Maybe some of you can translate it correctly.

Como ocurría antaño, los Igorot sienten aversión por la tribu Ifugao, rival y pobladora de la zona sur de la sierra, a la que critican por haber consentido vivir casi recluidos en las llamadas “aldeas étnicas” creadas por el Gobierno, y por enterrar a sus muertos, acción que consideran abominable.

English translation:
As happened yesterday, the Igorot feel aversion to Ifugao tribe, rival and residents of the area south of the mountain, which was criticized for having consented to live virtually imprisoned in so-called “ethnic villages” set up by the Government, and bury their dead, they consider abhorrent action.

The Ifugaos “consented to live virtually imprisoned in so called ‘ethnic villages'”? I don’t think so. And “Igorot feel aversion to Ifugao tribe”? I don’t know of any such aversion but maybe the writer was referring to the past [“as happened yesterday”?] when war between tribes was the way of life in the highlands.

Anyways, this is one of the days when I wish that the generation before us [hehe] didn’t complain too much about Spanish being taught in college. By the time I went to college, Spanish was no longer a required course so I’m totally clueless when I come across Spanish articles like this.

If you want to go through the full article, here is the original article in Spanish and here’s the English translation by Google.

7 thoughts on “Lost in Translation”

  1. Hi Bill
    Imagine other languages that we cannot even read like Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic. Sus!

  2. No Spaniard stayed long enough in Ifugao to know what the supposed historian is talking about.

    I think it is an unreliable account of our past.

    Pero natutuwa ako sa English translation,ha?

  3. Hah, yan ang akala mo, Sir BB. I learned Spanish for three semesters in college, but it got lost because of non-use hehehe…

    At least may output ung Google Translator noh? Medyo dubious nga lang. Hmmmm.. Itry ko kaya ipatranslate sa kanya ang Old Testament. Baka mawalan na kami ng trabaho niyan ehehehehehe…

  4. Marami nga ang nagsasabi na kung di sana inalis Spanish subject noon atleast sana daw ngayon ay alam din natin para hindi tayo mawawala sa sirkulo.

    I am much interested in it rather than learning French or Cantonese.

  5. hello! Hehe, kakatuwa naman ang translation! Sis L, buti na lang no-good ang translation ng google or else maghanap ka na ng bago mong karera.
    Ellen, buy ka nung Pimsleur Spanish, if you really want to learn the language. it’s an audio language learning program, and may kasama din siyang book. Pwede mo idownload sa net. try mo…

  6. natuto lang ako ng spanish ng kaunti noong nasa Spain ako ng isang taon. noong 1980’s yata tinangal ang spanish subject. Pero ipinababalik yata ulit ang spanish subject, nabasa ko lang sa diyaryo noong nagbisita ang isang opisyal ng spanish diyan sa Pilipinas. Pero maganda kapag natuto ka ng ibang lenguahe marami kang makakaibigan.

  7. It’s always a plus to learn other languages, and you’re right – you can certainly make a lot of friends the whole world over.

    Igorots however, especially those who are or from Benguet and Mt Province, does not get credited for speaking several ethnic dialects as opposed to the tagalogs or some ilokanos who are content with just one or two spoken dialects in their lifetime. Just my thought. Cheers.

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