29 July 2008

Puzzled by translation or what's an RPM?

Yesterday evening I was at home and with nothing else better to do watching a Stargate SG1 on TV (one of the very few Sci-Fi shows available on cable around here).
Nothing spectacular, they were on a planet, drilling in rock to detonate some naquadah, when I saw this translation gem (translated back by me from Romanian to English) "decrease the package manager".

WTF? It made no sense, what has to do a package manager with a drill? Then I put my distributive attention to work, the shows here are subtitled with the original soundtrack and remebered hearing something like "reduce the rpm" (or it was "reduce the rpms"?). Figures!

It seems that the translator encountered the rpm term (revolutions per minute in that specific context) didn't know what it stands for and googled for the term. Of course RPM the package manager is the first and the second hit, so hw used that, even if it made no sense, it is a job right?

This is not the first error I noticed on that channel (I watch there only SG1), but this one I found particularly funny.


  1. Awesome! I am a huge fan of both Stargate SG-1 and package managers!

  2. Wow, this is a funny one indeed! My guess is that an automated translater was used.

    For example, reboot = "repapuc" (the program tries to be smart and understands that 're' is a prefix). It sounds much funnier in Russian = "perebotinok".

    Then there are numerous cases of Chinese user guides translated to various languages.. Yes, it is easy to get lost in translation.

  3. Are there automated translators which work at least half good? In my experience the Google Translator has a ton of mistakes, and much worse that that (it sometime fails entire words and the grammar is non existent).