Late night TV hosts sometimes understandably like to make sure their viewers are still awake. John Oliver, for instance, delights in mislabeling his maps just to keep you on your toes:
I’ve repeatedly picked on Facebook, and partner-in-crime Bing, for their repeated failure to translate the most basic elements of Hebrew (e.g. holidays, numerals, slam dunk transliteration, negatives, religious figures, and proper names) into English. But after I posted that last example, a friend sent me another, and forced me to alter the usual narrative. Here’s her damning screenshot: Continue reading Giving Facebook some credit where it’s due
I’ll keep this post brief because it’s almost 4AM and this isn’t so important in the grand scheme of things.
I’m writing to present the latest failure of Facebook and Bing’s effort to facilitate mutual understanding across language barriers. Here’s one reaction to Bibi’s reelection, shared via Facebook comment:
Back when I spent several months in Nepal with a bunch of Israelis, I wrote a post poking fun at said Israelis for not knowing the difference between Halloween and Christmas. I now understand that this was wrong. It is unreasonable to expect people to accurately tell holidays apart when they are celebrated primarily on the other side of the world. I know this because, well, check out the latest example of poor translation, courtesy of Facebook (but really Bing; click to embiggen):
Local search engine Bing hosts a rotating cast of photographs, which I happen to see every day because they are featured on the search screen of my Windows Phone. The photos always feature embedded hints and teasers meant to encourage visitors to click through and google more using Bing.
I last took special note of the home page this past Mother’s Day. The photograph caught my eye today because it looked quite familiar:
This blog has thoroughly rehearsed the inability of Facebook (in partnership with Bing) to faithfully render Hebrew into English. I was skeptical the standard set by Bing’s engine could ever be topped. Until, that is, I read “A Prayer for Bibi“, published this morning by the Times of Israel:
From today’s United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA*) press release [emphasis mine]:
I’ve given Facebook and Bing a hard time in the past for their inability to translate anything — indeed, as recently as just this past week — or, at least, translate anything from Hebrew. I can’t speak to their translations into English from all the languages I don’t speak, but I imagine they do a similarly terrible job.
So I’ll consider that ground already covered like Kenji Yoshino — this post exists only to document another instance where their combined futility makes for epic failure. Never trust translations you read on Facebook.
The status in question was posted on the Facebook profile of Tomer Persico, a lecturer at the department for Comparative Religion in Tel-Aviv University (here’s his blog). I’ve never heard of him, but he has nearly 6,000 followers on Facebook, so he’s clearly kind of a big deal in certain circles — and one of them brought the following to my attention:
A good friend made an amusing observation yesterday on Facebook: a book titled Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History, by Joseph Telushkin, is currently ranked #1 on Amazon for “Christian Living“:
To give you an idea of the type of company the Rebbe currently keeps, here are the top six sellers in the category – or top four, depending on how charitably you feel like counting:
Google gets all the buzz (pun intended) for its creative and whimsical doodles that often celebrate special occasions and people. For instance, here’s how the search engine decided to mark Mother’s Day:
But Google isn’t the only website that updates its otherwise-static home page on the daily. Ostensible rival search engine Bing hosts a rotating cast of photographs each day, which I happen to see because it is featured on the search screen of my Windows Phone.
Like Google doodles, these images are sometimes chosen to celebrate special occasions. Here’s what Bing has on display this Mother’s Day: