September 05, 2004

Los Senadores y El Presidente

Christopher Buckley says in the Sunday New York Times (page 9 of Week In Review if you have the hard copy; available online if you're signed up) that his TV got stuck with the Spanish closed-captioning on while he watched the Republican convention, and it showed Zell Miller with the words "Senador Molinero del Zell" at the bottom of the screen. Olympia Snowe was "Senador Nieve de Olympia" (does her final silent "e" count for nothing? "Snowe" is not "snow"), and almost unbelievably he saw several times a reference to Presidente Arbusto. Is it incredibly stupid 16-year-old human translation slaves that they have chained to desks at the captioning service office? Or machine translation software so dumb that even the armed services wouldn't pay for research into how to improve it any more so they had to go sell to the private sector?

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at September 5, 2004 08:58 PM