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I don't know the Spanish word for ''manger.'' But maybe no one will notice if I write that Baby Jesus was born in a library. ''B-I-B-L-I-O-T-E-C-A'' Language Translation Service
Translate from English to Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Norwegian, and Chinese,
...or vice versa*


Down through the Ages — for monastic monks, sure, but for some of us cave-dwelling hermitic types, too — it has been a traditional calling for some brethren to serve as scribes: Copyists, illuminators, illustrators, and/or translators for holy scriptures and for certain secular texts deemed meritorious-enough for historical preservation. Hotcha!

Me? Well, my handwriting is typically quite legible, even handsome in its own way, that is, when I write with a pencil or a ball-point pen. Because I am left-handed, however, I am at a severe disadvantage when it comes to writing on parchment with a quill pen inked-up by a quick dip in a wet inkwell. And, hey, like it or not, those are the only kinds of office supplies permitted to traditional monkish scribes, whether monastically-cloistered or cave-dwelling hermitic.

With a quill-feather pen and homemade ink, if I don't wait several minutes for a single character to dry completely before moving on to the next letter, my (trailing) left hand will likely smear the wet ink and, thus, ruin the entire page. If, however, I count my prayer beads and meditate while prudently and patiently waiting for each character to dry thoroughly before continuing on to the next, it may take me a whole day to transcribe a single page, fer chrissake.

The upshot is: I've worn out too many rosaries to be a scribe. (So now I'm just another of those wacky cave-hermit monks who tries to maintain some sense of piety through auto-flagellation. Ouch! Sure it hurts, but it really impresses the hell outta the occasional passerby, and my like-minded brethren assure me that God is pleased to see us suffer for His sake... even when our pain is self-inflicted.)

So I can't transcribe, don't ask me.

And being only mono-lingual, hey, I can't be of any service in translating texts, holy or otherwise, unless, of course, I'm ever divinely-commissioned to translate English to Pig Latin, er-fay issake-cray. (As nuts as that sorta calling might sound, it would sure beat beating oneself all day long with a cat-o'-nine-tails... even if my whip only has eight tails now due to losing a tail during an especially-pious bit of self-flogging last Palm Sunday. Amen.)

Years ago, just before I left the monastery and took up residence in this cave, a (then) recently-rediscovered parchment scroll with text written in some long-lost language was sent to us brethren in a final attempt at translation. When I realized that no single living soul on this whole planet could read the text, I claimed to have had the understanding of that lost tongue imparted to me by divine revelation during a particularly vivid dream. And so, then, I took on the task of translating the scroll. (Like I said: It sure beats beating oneself all day long.) Just in case a passing monk might glance into my cloister, I approached my duties as an actor would a stage performance: I'd studiously stare at the ancient text, scratch the shaved spot on the top of my head (I'd already opted for the classic "Friar Tuck" hairstyle by that time.), act as though I'd just had a spontaneous Eureka moment, then slowly, very very slowly, write my translation with quill and ink on parchment. What I wrote, of course, was a work of complete fiction, a project that I had undertaken merely as a diversion from a more monotonous and painful pastime. So maybe you can imagine how much it still amuses me to know that my fanciful fake scripture eventually became the basis for a religious movement originating in Southern California in the early 1970s. To this day there are still naive believers who fervently pray to the Archangel Kumquat as their intercessor to God. ("Yea, verily, Fred sayeth unto the Holy High Priestess of Reasonable Similar Facsimiles, "Prithee, O Divine Seer, sayest thou who shalt heareth mine voice when I pray?" And, anon, she sayeth unto Pilgrim Fred, "Verily, I say, come what may, Kumquat may." [First Fred 14:92-3] And blah, blah, blah.)

Anyway,... I can't translate (or dance), don't ask me.

But now, Brothers and Sisters, by use of modern technology (that, say, a cave-dwelling hermit monk might covertly acquire and operate — all unbeknownst to his traditionalist monkish brethren), I can do some translations via online magic.

And, yes, m'Dear Pilgrims, now you can, too! Hotcha!

Just type in the text or URL you wish to have translated, select the languages you wish to translate from and to, and then click the button. Zip, zap, instant translation. Cool! (And, hey, you don't have to beat yourself up, fer chrissake!)

Go ahead, try it!

But wait, there's more!

Back when I was in grad school, Uri, an Art student friend of mine from Israel, showed me a flip-book he had made. The technique Uri used fascinated me, so much that I used it myself when making title sequences for an experimental animated film project begun sometime soon after seeing the flip-book. The technique relied on magnifying the distortions, artifacts, and eventual breakdown imparted to copies through an imperfect technological reproduction process. (May it also serve us as cautionary metaphor regarding the dangers of genetic cloning.)

Simply, Uri started with an original work of art, hand-drawn in black ink on a standard 8-1/2"x11" sheet of white paper. Then, he photocopied that original. Then, he photocopied the photocopy. Then, he photocopied the photocopy of the photocopy. Then,.... Well, you get the picture(s). After several iterations, the final image bore absolutely no resemblance to the first. However, by flipping through the generations in sequence, one could witness the devolution from beginning to end, from order to utter chaos. Cool, huh?

Now, here, in a variation on that technique, I've used the above translation program in an experiment to see how language distorts, acquires artifacts, and breaks down within an (understandably) imperfect technological process. (Hey, when you live alone in a cave, you take your amusement whenever and wherever you find it, m'Dears. Even a cat-o'-eight-tails provides its momentary diversion.)

Perhaps after reading the following, you'll be inspired to experiment with your own text samples. Just remember "Fudd's First Law of Opposition" (according to The Firesign Theatre): If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.

— Original English Verse —

There once was a hermit named Dave,
Who kept a dead whore in his cave.
"I know it's a sin,"
He said with a grin,
"But think of the money I save."

— Spanish Translation —

Había una vez un ermitaño Dave denominado,
Que mantuvo a una puta muerta en su cueva.
"Sé es un pecado,"
Él dijo con una mueca,
"Ppero piensa en el dinero que salvo."

Spanish back to English

There was once a hermit Dave called,
That he maintained a dead prostitute in his cave.
"I know is a sin,"
He said with a face,
"But thinks about the money that save."

— French Translation —

Il y une fois avait un hermit Dave nommé,
Qui a gardé un whore mort dans sa caverne.
"Je sais c'est un péché,"
Il a dit avec un sourire,
"Mais penser de l'argent que j'épargne."

French back to English

It there a time had a hermit Dave named,
That kept a dead whore in his cave.
"I know this a sinned,"
It said with a mouse,
"But to think about money that I save."

— German Translation —

Dort einmal war ein Einsiedler genannt Dave,
Der einen toten whore in seiner Höhle behalten hat.
"Ich weiß, daß es eine Sünde ist,"
Hat er mit einem Grinsen gesagt,
"Aber spare ans Geld ich hat gedacht."

German back to English

There once a hermit was named Dave
That retained a dead whore in its cave.
"I know that it is a sin,"
Said it with a grinning,
"However would save at the money I thought."

— Italian Translation —

Una volta era lí eremita Dave dato un nome a,
Che ha tenuto un whore morto nella sua cava.
"So che è un peccato,"
Ha detto con un sogghigna,
"Ma pensa del denaro che risparmio."

Italian back to English

A time was lí hermit Gives givened a name to,
That held a dead whore in its cable.
"I know that it is a sin,"
It said with a sogghigna,
"But hung some money that I save."

— Dutch Translation —

Daar eenmaal was een hermit Dave noemde,
Die een dode whore in zijn hol bijhield.
"Ik weet het is een zonde,"
Hij zegde met een grijns,
"Maar denkt aan het geld ik red." dat, dat.

Dutch back to English

That once was a hermit Dave named,
That a dead person whore in be hole kept up.
"I know the is a sin,"
He said with a sneer,
"But thinks of the money I drove." that, that.

— Portuguese Translation —

Uma vez havia um hermit nomeou Dave,
Quem manteve um whore morto nseua caverna.
"Sei que é um pecado,"
Disse com um arreganha,
"Mas pensa do dinheiro que eu poupo."

Portuguese back to English

A time there was a hermit nominated Dave,
Who manteve a whore dead nseua cavern.
"I know that is a sin,"
Said with a grins,
"But thinks of the money that I save."

— Russian Translation —

Однажды был отшельник по имени Дейв,
Кто держал мертвую шлюху в его пещере.
"Я знаю, что это - грех,"
Он сказал с усмешкой,
"Но думайте о деньгах, которые я экономлю."

Russian back to English

Once there was an eremite by name Дейв,
Who held the dead whore in its cave.
"I know, that it is a sin,"
It has told with a smile,
"But think of money which I save."

— Japanese Translation —


Japanese back to English

There was the recluse called デイブ once.
The person was ちょろ in the cave and noticed the family.
"Money of thought except for that I save,
I know that that is a crime"
And to he said to た with た laughter.

— Norwegian Translation —

Der var en gang en eremitt kalt Dave,
Som beholdt en død whore i hans hule.
"Vet jeg at det er en synd,"
Sagt han med et flir,
"Men tenker på pengene I untatt."

Norwegian to English

*(Curiously, no option to translate from Norwegian
to English is provided at this time. Go figure.)

— Traditional Chinese Translation —


Chinese to English

*(Also, no option to translate from Chinese
to English is provided at this time. Oy!)

And now for one final, extreme-maximum Fuddian push:

— Original English Verse Translated to Spanish to English to French to English to German to English to Italian to English to Dutch to English to Portuguese to English to Russian to English to Japanese and, Then, Back to English Again —
(with no dead-end Norwegian and/or Chinese iterations)

《主語なし》I to neighborhood in it obj read name obj designated am,
time there was recluse (died prostitute) of Buigzaamheid quele
during person sink (the deteve) there am' I sbj know the ges?
the the the an/the is that who that who that it and
and 《主語なし》However, it is talked" with "
a/the person ndigt has it the money that should do it so,
think and O that I save.

And that, as they say, is that. (Or, "Dat, dat," as the case may be.) — BD


Our poor ol' mono-lingual Brother Dave, the management and staff of, and are not responsible for any social faux pas, linguistic misunderstanding (whether humorous, or otherwise), or international incident caused by any inadvertent mistranslation that might result from the use of this language translation service — including, but not limited to, any construction project cancellation that would deny the completion of a tower to Heaven. Amen.

For our disclaimer regarding the classic degenerate limerick used (and much abused) in the above experiment, please read our essay titled There Once Was A Hermit Named Dave that is published elsewhere on this site. Be assured, Dear Pilgrim, this ol' Hermit Dave is not now, nor has he ever been, a necrophiliac! And, hey, he wouldn't be caught dead associating with one either! So there.

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© 2001-2012 David R. Lister • All Rights Reserved.