Date: Mon, 9 Feb 1998 13:36:39 -0500
From: Larry Horn laurence.horn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: Automatic translation

At 1:08 PM -0500 2/9/98, Allan Metcalf wrote:
This was posted recently on the discussion list for administrators of ACLS
societies. (Yes, there's a list for everything!) It's news to me . . . and
maybe news to some others on ADS-L. - Allan Metcalf

I have recently
learned of an interesting website developed by Digital that offers instant
translations between English and German, French, Italian, Portuguese, and
Spanish. By putting a link on your homepage to that site, users can have
your pages and all hyperlinks in your site translated into one of these

Go to and type in
the URL for you homepage and select a language into which you would like it
translated. Follow the hyperlinks in your pages to see them translated as
well. Graphics are unchanged but all text is translated.

It's pretty cute, but remarkably quirky. I just tried the English to French
conversion (one of the few whose accuracy I can evaluate) on my own
homepage and found particularly surprising the rendering of my "Fall" and
"Spring" term courses as those for the "Chute" and "Spring" semesters
respectively. The former is a typical decontextualized
take-the-first-entry error (la "chute" does indeed describe what the leaves
do in the relevant season), but the latter is an odd surrender, since
Spring-- "printemps" or even erroneously -- "source" isn't THAT hard to
come up with. And for some reason every instance of "negation" in one of
my course descriptions is turned into "inversion"--'la double inversion'
sounds vaguely sexy, but is ultimately incoherent. I don't think the
universal translator is at hand yet, but this babelfish is fun to play
around with.