The Most Rebarbative Envelope Pictures

Guten Tag to all my German speaking readers. I found this while perusing my stat counter:

Die Falsifizierung von Binsenweisheiten
Wer auch immer behauptet hat, man könne Bücher nicht nach dem Äußeren beurteilen, kannte offensichtlich Judge a book by its cover nicht: in diesem Blog veröffentlicht eine Bibliothekarin die garstig- sten Umschlagbilder, die ihr im Rahmen ihrer Arbeit unter die Augen kommen.

Now, it's been a while since I've had German (and then just barely enough to pass the reading competency exam for grad school), so I put this through a trusty translator program that I found online (it's amazing, these internets!). Here's the translation I got:

The Falsifizierung of Binsenweisheiten
Whoever has stated, one can judge books not by the appearance, Judge a book by its cover did not know obviously: in this Blog a librarian publishes the most rebarbative envelope pictures which you
come within the scope of her work under the eyes.

I'm so chuffed! I promise to continue publishing the most rebarbative envelope pictures I can find. Next time. I promise.

Auf Wiedersehen!


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I don't speak German, but I certainly look forward to more rebarbative envelope pictures, myself. I also adore anyone who uses the word "chuffed."

DocTurtle said...

Your envelope pictures are most inflammatory! I am made mirthful by the obloquious commentarification you perform on the artistic accompaniment of books. I prognosticate much work of a snarking nature in the future. Stay rebarbative!

Anonymous said...

I ran it through babelfish.altavista.com, and got something slightly different:
The Falsifizierung of Binsenweisheiten
Whoever stated, one can judge books not by the exterior, knew obviously Judge A book by its more cover not: in this Blog a librarian publishes the mean sten cover pictures, which come it in the context of their work under the eyes.

"mean sten cover" = "rebartive envelope pictures"?

Unknown said...

I am college educated and of reasonable intelligence, but could you please tell me what rebarbative envelope and chuff mean?

Miss Maggie said...

"Chuffed" means very pleased.

As to what "rebarbative" means...your guess is as good as mine!

Guess it means "mean sten cover."

Anonymous said...

Falsifizierung called more everyone from Binsenweisheiten, did not know can the books of the exterior judge, naturally the book of the judge on on to relatively it plus cover not: in this Blog a librarian publicly the central illustrations of the cover, which to conteste of their work in the eyes return.

[what two automatic translators after a couple of (hilarious) stages to and fro, an excursion into romance languages and back to german, finally call english. admittedly, though, i restored the "sten" ending to the word "garstig" where it belongs. if i hadn't, it would probably be somewhere in there.]

Christian said...

Lol, maybe I can shed a bit of light on some of those mysteries:
In German, 'Umschlag' means envelope as well as book cover.
'sten' is a result of babelfish having trouble to translate superlatives. "die garstigen Umschlaege" means bad covers, "die garstigsten Umschlaege" means the worst covers.
Maughta, I think your blog is great, by the way!

Anonymous said...

@ christian:

the double meaning is not at all an excuse for what babelfish (and other automatic translators) do.
even a simple phrase like

"Yesterday I sold my apartment"

("Gestern verkaufte ich meine Wohnung") turns out as "Yesterday sold I mean dwelling."

That is, of course, because the engine does not distinguish between "ich meine" as a verb (1st person "i mean") and the words "ich" and "meine" when the latter is a possessive pronoun and the first is the personal pronoun belonging to the verb (verkaufte) that stands equally (and as obscurely) alone in english (sold), with the poss. pron. becoming a senseless adjective.

Russian, though, is still worse off, because even a phrase like "My name is Peter" turns out unintelligible.
As for the romance languages I checked, basic-level communication is alright but once you get to a certain sophistication (like, for instance: "Me and my brother often talk on the phone") it's hopeless, too.

DocTurtle said...

Babelfish has intermittent trouble with accents in Spanish and Portuguese, even if you use their little rule for entering accents. The funniest example in Spanish involves the words "ano" without a tilde on the 'n,' and "ano" with a tilde. If you tell it there's a tilde there using their rule for entering accents, it just doesn't know what word you're talking about. If you ignore the tilde problem, you get (correctly) "vivi con my amiga por dos anos" translating as "I lived with my friend for two anuses."

Anonymous said...

LOL. "dos anos"

syro0: "Me and my brother often talk on the phone" is incorrect English, so you can hardly fault translations software for screwing it up. Any English-speaking person can tell what is meant, but remove "and my brother" from the sentence and what are you left with? It sounds like caveman speech. "Me" is the objective form of "I", but it is used as the subject of the sentence here, so it should be the subjective ("I"). You'd need an extremely sophisticated AI to understand the sorts of nuances that humans can when it comes to circumventing the "rules". Software cannot have the sort of intuitive inferential understanding of language that comes naturally to a human being.

That said, the translations are indeed typically horrible, but a lot of fun to translate passages to one language and back - especially between Asian languages and English.

On a side note, "Rebartive Recordings" appears to be a small death metal label, which constitutes the whole of Google search results for the word. How does tranlations software create non-existant words? I can't even identify a root in that word.

Miss Maggie said...

I think it's way more funny to assume that rebarbative is a non-existent word (I know I prefer that), but just for my more pedantic readers I went ahead and looked up the definition (I'm fond of the quotes they've chosen for it):

rebarbative \ree-BAR-buh-tiv\, adjective:
Serving or tending to irritate or repel.

Over the past couple of hours a lot of rebarbative, ulcerated and embittered people had been working hard at bedding their resentments down in sensory-deprivation tanks full of alcohol.
-- Will Self, The Sweet Smell of Psychosis

I still think this true, yet can't help regret the unretrievable hours lavished on so much rebarbative critical prose, convinced that the nearly impenetrable must be profound.
-- Michael Dirda, "In which our intrepid columnist visits the Modern Language Association convention and reflects on what he found there", Washington Post, January 28, 2001

Rebarbative comes from French rébarbatif, "stern, surly, grim, forbidding," from Middle French rebarber, "to be repellent," from re- (from the Latin) + barbe, "beard" (from Latin barba).

So add rebarbative to your vocabulary and impress your friends.

Anonymous said...

You have a point of course, but let us look at the details. I enter the English phrase "I and my brother often talk on the phone", if that is acceptable to you [even the lame "I often talk to my brother on the phone" gets botched after all]...
Interestingly, "me and my brother" turns out correctly, in German at least, while "I" is left as it stands. In Italian, we either have "I" (no word) or "Me" (wrong case) and the rest as "ed il mio del fratello colloquio spesso sul telefono"... absolute nonsense.

"ed il mio" means "and my", although I'm at a loss where "del" comes from, fratello is brother, and colloquio means talk as a noun. spesso is often, which is correct, but "sul telefono" is "on the phone" in the sense of "there's a fly sitting on the phone".

BTW, the Italian phrase we're looking for is something along the lines of "Io telefono spesso al mio fratello"

You gotta admit though that the mistakes generally appear where you would least suspect them. ;-)

Unknown said...

Wow Maughta, congratulations on delighting the Germans - a tough trick. "Rebarbative" man that's... that's... damn.

Christian said...

Actually, it's not as tough as it might seem. The Guardian published a very interesting article about the difficulty of humour crossing the language barrier:

Anonymous said...

Just found your website and happen to be German

'Proving truisms wrong:
Whoever claims that you can't judge a book by its cover obviously does not know the eponymous website where a librarian publishes the most hideous cover art that she gets to see at her work.'