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"Yes we can" not translateable?  (View post)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
9 years ago6,263 views

Try translating "yes we can" from English to German (or some other languages)... it won't be translated:
translate.google.com/?hl=en#en ...!

Is this because the phrase was used as-is (in English) in popualr non-English sources?

[Thanks Ilan wordsboutique.co.il]

Juha-Matti Laurio [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

You can translate it to Finnish
translate.google.com/?hl=en#en ...

and the result this just fine – "Kyllä voimme".

hebbet [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

maybe abuse of the "Contribute a better translation"

yes we can't works:
translate.google.com/?hl=en#en ...

TOMHTML [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

You can also translate it into French

BTW, I've noticied 1 or 2 years ago that several simple weren't translatable into/from Polish, it's still true today. You also can't translate "What time is it?" from English to French...

Rohit Srivastwa [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

translate.google.com/?hl=en#en ...
Perfectly done in Hindi

But not the other one "no we can't"
translate.google.com/?hl=en#en ...

ArpitNext [PersonRank 7]

9 years ago #

हाँ, हम कर सकते हैं (hindi)

Bart [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

Yes, we can translate – "Yes, we can" to "Ja, wir können" (if you tokenize the words that is! :)

Above 7 comments were made in the forum before this was blogged,

Gabriel [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

In spanish "Yes we can" is translated fine, but not "yes we can" (without capitalization).

Rolandas R. [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

In Lithuanian translation is wrong... In Russian – its ok.
p.s. testes Yes we can and yes we can

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

I've never seen any news reports with "yes we can" translated to Polish, ever. It would sound really awkward. So I wouldn't really blame Google... ;)

bad science [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

that conclusion is unsupported from the data

David Gross [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

Google Translate WAS able to translate to Hungarian but only if you put in a comma. Yes, we can = Igen, meg tudjuk

Andy Wong [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

It is possible to translate languages using machine/AI, however, it is basically impossible to translate cultures using AI.

You need trained human intelligence to translate cultures.

We heard that preserving a language in order to preserve a culture, however, a language can only represent a part of a culture, and there are many unsaid things in a culture.

Therefore, it is basically impossible to translate "Yes We Can" which has so many ambiguous indications and implicit meanings based on American's cultures.

Andy Wong [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Grammar analysis has no place in translating sentence like "Yes We Can". This was why statistic base analysis has been becoming more popular over last 2 decades.

With things like "Contribute a better translation" and a powerful search engine, the static base model basically collects human intelligence, as more and more people contribute a better translation. Google Translation is not really translating, but searching for an answer in its statistic database, provided that the requested translation had been done by some human beings.

Fredrik Hed [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

It translates perfectly into Swedish, both with and without capitalization

Yes we can = Ja vi kan

Ken Aston [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

Very interesting post. The original sentence "yes, we can" is the perfectly correct translation for itself in many languages. Respect, Google.

A S [PersonRank 3]

9 years ago #

Ironical that it is not translated to Spanish, considering the origin of the phrase was in Spanish: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_We_C ...

Jayenkai [PersonRank 2]

9 years ago #

Oooh, context sensitive none-translations! It's just like in Star Trek when you hear the odd Klingon phrase, even though the Universal Translator is supposed to be translating it!

Veky [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

It is translated to Croatian, but very badly. The translation roughly means "Should we be able to..."

Jeff [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

The Irish translation literally is "It is possible with us." Not quite the emphatic "Yes we can" but as close as Irish gets, I think. Of course, Irish doesn't really even have a word for "Yes" to begin with, so that's a problem as well.

Hans Husman [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

Yeah I know isn't it interresting. Works with other word combinations still in similar ways though I have never really used this odd effect against anything but one region.

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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