Chad Miller's weblog


“Cut toward the hunt!”

A few years ago, Garry Trudeau wrote of a (unfortunately) fictional interview with the pop singer Madonna in which he toys with the idea of a double translation, colloquial English to Hungarian and then back to English — the joke being that mapping ideas into other systems may not fit too well, and, as Trudeau put it “something is lost, but much is gained, in the translation”. While it can make much sensible text into gibberish, it can also bring sloppy or crass speech into sharp relief.

In the spirit of that beautiful article, I have created a double translation bookmarklet for your clicking pleasure.

(Save that link as a bookmark. Aunt Tillie, this means you should right-click on it.)

When you are visiting other pages, if you choose that bookmark, it will instead translate your target page into Chinese and then from Chinese back to English. The automatic translators this uses are not as clever as Trudeau is, but the process occasionally will produce something that is a hoot.

“…the automobile trumpet.”