Mysterious Japanese TV Show: Kittens in Bowls

Maureen O'Connor · 02/16/11 06:03PM

I do not know the rationale behind this mysterious Japanese TV show where dozens of kittens are set loose in a room full of casserole dishes in which they must curl up and sleep. I do not know if the rationale matters.

The Chinese Had Obama's Name Wrong the Whole Time

Ravi Somaiya · 11/20/09 06:44AM

The President has left China. But try as he might, he couldn't get the Chinese to translate his name correctly the whole time he was there. Please call him President Aobama from now on.

Israeli politican: Yes, we can copy your website

Owen Thomas · 11/14/08 06:00PM

The campaign site for Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu," the Israeli candidate for prime minister, is a mirror-image copy of BarackObama.com, flopped to accommodate the right-to-left Hebrew script. Right down to the icons, it mirrors the website developed by Blue State Digital, reports the New York Times. The new-media touches may not all translate; Israel only has a couple thousand Twitter users, making it an unlikely get-out-the-vote mechanism. The imitation is meant as flattery: Netanyahu and Obama have met twice and are said to get along, and the Israeli candidate is campaigning on a similar theme of change.

Apple France on MacBook launch: "Perfectly idiotic"

Owen Thomas · 10/15/08 11:00AM

Vive la résistance! We don't know if Apple France intentionally tweaked their American overlords, or just screwed up. But for a while, Apple's French website described the newly launched MacBooks as "parfaitement con," for which a very polite translation is "perfectly idiotic." The page now reads "parfaitement conçu," or "perfectly conceived." If you thought Apple was all about obsessive attention to detail, be aware that product promise only applies to English-language material.

Mark Zuckerberg puts Sheryl Sandberg in her place

Owen Thomas · 10/09/08 02:20PM

Want to know the ultimate putdown in Silicon Valley? Calling someone a "good manager." Organizational competence is a necessary commodity; risk-takers, entrepreneurs, "visionaries" are the ones who get the glory, the press, and the outsized financial returns. With that in mind, read this excerpt from an interview Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg conducted with the Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung, Germany's leading business newspaper, as an exercise in damning with faint praise:

Yahoo's failure even funnier in French

Owen Thomas · 08/29/08 02:20PM

I just got a copy of an article in Capital, France's biggest business magazine, which neatly summarizes the history of Yahoo's troubles. The best part? Seeing the "Peanut Butter memo" — executive Brad Garlinghouse's cri de coeur about Yahoo's all-over-the-map strategy — translated into French:

Vaguely Racist 'Hancock' Subtitles Prompt Fledgling Fan Revolt

STV · 08/07/08 02:50PM

The Dark Knight may have its curse, Transformers 2 may have its star's busted hand and Terminator 4 may face the opprobrium of its own franchise anchor. But another summer blockbuster faces an unfortunate — if totally foreseeable — development of its own. Those viewers who remember Hancock's introductory action sequence may have been too rattled/busy/overwhelmed to have been paying attention to the subtitled conversation of its Asian bad guys, but nothing got past an eagle-eyed blogger who caught the slightly insensitive translation pictured here. Follow the jump for an enlarged image and a summary of one man's! total! outrage!Look, would we have translated the dialect into a little more elegant English, as opposed to the more stilted "Engrish" of Hancock? Yeah, probably. But we're not quite ready for the boycott action proposed by this particularly incensed viewer:

Bill Murray's 'Stupid Country Bumpkin' Look Doesn't Impress Greta Scacchi

Molly Friedman · 05/15/08 05:10PM

We’ve had a thing for Bill Murray since the first time we saw clips of his pity-me-but-look-at-me skits on SNL right up until his sad lonely guy role in Lost In Translation, when his gray hair and inability to smile deflated our crush ever so slightly. But unlike actress Greta Scacchi, who blabbed to a London paper about the night he innocently asked for her number and was harshly rejected by her and the too-cool group of Eurotrashy friends she rolls with, we’d never resort to the level of cattiness the Italian quasi-star did today:

Husky Voiced Scarlett Johansson Set To Cover Husky Voiced Tom Waits

Molly Friedman · 04/04/08 06:50PM

It took long enough, but the release date of Scarlett Johansson's highly anticipated debut album is near. The LP, titled Anywhere I Lay My Head, features album cover art of Scarlett looking like an introspective earth mother and showcases her trademark fiery red lips and oft-victimized bosom. And what are we to expect from the music itself? As People reports, her long-awaited covers of famous Tom Waits tunes will include vocals from David Bowie and one original track by Scarlett herself, which sounds like it could be promising. But we took a look back at some of her past performances to get a better sense of what Scarlett's presumably sexy vocals sound like, and aren't entirely convinced Grammys lie in her future.

The reward for translating Facebook into Spanish

Nicholas Carlson · 02/11/08 07:20PM

OK, we were wrong. The 1,500 volunteers who translated Facebook from English into Spanish in just four weeks were rewarded with more than just the "impact of their contribution." They got this gift from billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Click to expand the image. And your jealousy.

Mark Zuckerberg convinces 1,500 Spanish speakers to paint his fence

Nicholas Carlson · 02/08/08 12:40PM

In just four weeks, 1,500 Spanish-speaking Facebook users translated the entire site, which will appear in Spanish to all users from Spanish-speaking countries starting February 11. Right now, that's about 2.8 million active users in Latin America and Spain. What did these users get for all their hard work?

"Tom Cruise" is Spanish for "Heath Ledger"

Joshua David Stein · 01/24/08 05:11AM

If you've been trying to communicate to your friends in the Latino community that Heath Ledger has tragically died telling them, "Heath Ledger esta muerto" but have been confounded and angered by their replies of "Me gusto Cocktail pero el video es loco, cabron!" we might have figured out why. Apparently, at least according to the geniuses at Google Translate, the Spanish for "Heath Ledger" is "Tom Cruise." Interestingly, the Spanish for Tom Cruise is Tom Cruise. Try it yourself. Go to Google Translate, type in "Heath Ledger is dead" and watch what happens.

"Webgemeinde baffles" at Googler wedding

Owen Thomas · 12/08/07 07:58PM

Back when we had party correspondent Megan McCarthy to kick around, I made a point of assigning her all interviews with the German press. But now Leggy's headed to Wired, so when Der Spiegel called to interview me about Larry and Lucy's wedding, I had to handle it myself. And I think I acquitted myself pretty well. I think. The Google translation was a little unclear. "Webgemeinde baffles," indeed. Larry, when you get back, could you get someone working on this?

mark · 10/29/07 03:37PM

Quick-triggered DreamWorks mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg was reportedly involved in a simple misunderstanding during a recent visit to New York that resulted in a brief dust-up at the Four Seasons; apparently, a bar manager took a cellphone-toting Katzenberg's friendly greeting of,"Who the [bleep] are you? Do you know who I am?" the wrong way, mistaking the common L.A. idiom that translates to a polite, "Excuse me, dear sir, but I am engaged in some pressing business that demands my immediate attention. Please pardon this brief intrusion," for some sort of hostile expression of Hollywood entitlement. After a clarification, the two men shook hands, and no one was roughly escorted from the premises. [Page Six]

Nicholas Carlson · 10/24/07 02:04PM

Google dumped Systran's translation system for its own. 是否有人照顾? [Google Operating System]

Rest of world enjoys social networks, running water, electricity

Jordan Golson · 10/09/07 05:27PM

Apparently, overseas, there are social networks other than Facebook and MySpace. Who knew? Read/WriteWeb mentions that social net Hi5 which tallies 35 million uniques per month according to ComScore, making it competitive with Facebook. And yet the name will draw blank stares at a Silicon Valley tech meetup. Like Google's Orkut, Hi5 is huge overseas and virtually nonexistent in the U.S. Hi5 even launched a developer API in August, but got scant coverage from the Web 2.0 crowd. The bias, of course, is partly driven by economics. Tapping overseas advertisers is tough, and so developers planning to build ad-supported websites and applications naturally turn to U.S. markets. But media myopia is a factor, too. Until magazine editors' teenage daughters start using it, Hi5 is likely to remain invisible.

Jordan Golson · 10/01/07 04:30PM

Facebook might be stronger in a handful of countries than MySpace, but not strong enough for their liking. The company is in the process of translating their entire site into a number of non-English languages. How do you say "poke" in Arabic? [Financial Times]