Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fun with Babelfish

In the internet days of yore, Altavista was one of the pre-eminent search engines. These were different times, and nerdier times. So it should not be surprising that the translation tool that Altavista featured was named after the "babel fish", from the Douglas Adams sci-fi series, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

But Altavista's babelfish is still around and is handy when reading soccer articles outside of my core group of competent languages (English, Français, Nederlands). And especially this weekend, with Rob Friend having another big weekend for Borussia Moenchengladbach in Germany.

The German online newspaper Welt, after a headline reading "Rob Friend ist Gladbachs bester Freund" (Rob Friend is Gladbach's best friend, clever, no?), offered the following lead paragraph:
Im Spitzenspiel bei Greuther Fürth gelangen dem kanadischen Torjäger drei Treffer für Tabellenführer Borussia Mönchengladbach. Während Mainz und Aachen patzten, verbesserte sich 1860 München auf einen Aufstiegsplatz.
Babelfish translates thusly:
In the point play with Greuther Fuerth arrive to the Canadian gate hunter of three hits for table leader Borussia Moenchengladbach. While Mainz and Aachen patzten, 1860 Munich improved on an ascent place.
It seems babelfish hasn't improved much upon this tool in the last half decade. Let's let Google Translate at it:
In the top game at Greuther Fuerth reach the Canadian striker three goals for table leader Borussia Moenchengladbach. While Mainz and Aachen patzten, improved 1860 Munich on a career.
Not much better.

More from the article:
Borussia Mönchengladbach bleibt die Nummer eins in der 2. Fußball-Bundesliga. Zum Auftakt des elften Spieltags gewann der Tabellenführer das Spitzenspiel am Freitag bei der SpVgg Greuther Fürth nach einem Dreierpack des Kanadiers Rob Friend mit 3:1 (2:0) und steuert mit nun sieben Siegen aus den letzten acht Spielen dem direkten Wiederaufstieg entgegen.
The fish:
Borussia Moenchengladbach remains the number one in the 2. Soccer federal league. For the prelude of the elften play day the table leader won the point play on Friday with the SpVgg Greuther Fuerth after a three-luggage of the Canadian Rob Friend with 3:1 (2:0) and steers with now seven victories from the last eight plays the direct reclimb against.
A little better. Not sure what to do with a 'three-luggage', but I get the picture.

Friend had another big weekend. After not scoring last weekend (after I made this post about his current hot streak), he made up for it with a hat trick on Friday and now sits tied atop the goal scoring table in Germany's 2. Bundesliga.

It seems he has good reason to smile.

Olivier Occean has cooled a bit lately, and Ali Gerba hasn't been anywhere near the pitch for his team in Sweden, so I'd expect Rob to be the first-choice striker for Canada for some time.

Update: Watch the Friend hattrick:

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