December 18th, 2002


The Telephone Game, through translation

You've probably played the "telephone game" at some point in your life. A bunch of people are in a line. A message starts at one side and people whisper it down the line until it reaches the end, where it's inevitably been messed up, intentionally or otherwise.

I want to play the telephone game through layers of translation, altering to/from English.

I want to write two short paragraphs of text, then feed them to somebody who will convert them to another language and mail them back to me. Then I'll pass them on to somebody that can go from that language back to English. Do this a few times, then I'll post the results of each iteration.

Yes, we've all seen the Babelfish convergence stuff. (to English/from English until the text stops changing) But this is different in that it involves real people.

If you want to participate in this little game and can fluently speak at least two languages, email me (don't reply here) and let me know which directions in which languages you're confident translating. (some people are fluent enough to read, but not write) Also, if you don't want to be credited with your translation, let me know that also and I'll keep you anonymous.

It'll be interesting to see how much the meaning of the text changes by the end. Ideally we'll have some people who can speak two non-English languages so I can have some of the filter steps be from non-English to non-English (between different people).