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Alta Vista BabelFish

This is still [2008] very primitive.
On many occasions, it looks simpler to me to go back to the original -
the translation sometimes seems just as hard to make out.
Still, it may come in handy, so I offer this service.

The service has since disappeared, choked by Google Translate.

Don't laugh - it's funny!

Altavista is just as well aware of the problems with these translations as you and I, if not better: not for nothing they offer as a test Mark Twain's The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

One hilariously funny version of that short story was inspired when Mark Twain stumbled over a French translation of it, which he proceeded with a (not entirely mock) offended air to translate back into the English.

But you'll agree the BabelFish version contains some items that never occurred to Mark Twain, even when he set out to make it as funny as only he could be. Even when BabelFish has cheated and, before translating, changed the dialect Twain wrote the story in (as quoted here) to regular English; and, for some reason, changed Notorious to Celebrated.
The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
original versionBabelFish English-French

What might it be that you've got in the box?
And Smiley says, sorter indifferent-like, It might be a parrot, or it might be a canary, may be, but it ain't — it's only just a frog.
And the fellow took it, and looked at it careful, and turned it round this way and that, and says, H'm — so it is. Well, what's he good for?
Well, Smiley says, easy and careless, He's good enough for one thing, I should judge — he can out-jump any frog in Calaveras county.
The fellow took the box again, and took another long, particular look, and give it back to Smiley, and says, very deliberate, Well, he says, I don't see no p'ints about that frog that's any better 'n any other frog.

ce qui pourrait il être que vous avez dans la boîte?
Et le smiley indique, sorte d'indifférent comme, ce pourrait être un perroquet, ou ce pourrait être un canari, peut être, mais il n'est pas — il est seulement juste une grenouille.
Et le camarade l'a pris, et l'a regardé soigneux, et l'a tourné autour de cette façon et de celle, et dit, H'm — ainsi il est. Bien, pour ce qu'est il bon?
bien, le smiley indique, facile et négligent, il est assez bon pour une chose, je devrait juger — il peut dehors-sautent n'importe quelle grenouille dans le comté de Calaveras.
Le camarade a pris la boîte encore, et a jeté un autre long, particulier coup d'oeil, et le donne de nouveau au smiley, et dit, très délibéré, bien, je ne voient aucun point au sujet de cette grenouille qui est meilleure que n'importe quelle autre grenouille.
BabelFish French-EnglishMark Twain French-English

what could it be that you have in the box?
And the smiley indicates, kind of indifferent like, it could be a parrot, or it could be a canary, can be, but it is not — it is only right one frog.
And the comrade took, and looked at it careful, and turned it around this way and of that, and said, H'm — thus it is. Well, for what is it good?
well, the smiley indicates, easy and neglect, it is good enough for a thing, I should judge — it can outside-jump any frog in the county of Calaveras.
The comrade took the box still, and threw another length, particular glance, and again gives it to the smiley, and said, very deliberated, well, I do not see any point about this frog which is better than any other frog.

What is this then that you have shut up there within?
Smiley said, with an air indifferent:
That could be a paroquet, or a syringe (ou un serin), but this no is nothing of such, it not is but a frog.
The individual it took, it regarded with care, it turned from one side and from the other, then he said: Tiens! In effect! At what is she good?
My God! respond Smiley, always with an air disengaged, she is good for one thing, to my notice (à mon avis), she can batter in jumping (elle peut batter en sautant) all frogs of the country of Calaveras.
The individual re-took the box, it examined of new longly, and it rendered to Smiley in saying with an air deliberate:
Eh bien! I no saw not that that frog had nothing of better than each frog's. (Je ne vois pas que cette grenouille ait rien de mieux qu'aucune grenouille.) (If that isn't grammar gone to seed, then I count myself no judge. — M.T.)

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