Sunday, January 27, 2008

Can a computer translate Welsh?

Inspired by my comparison of Patrick Ford and Sioned Davies' Mabinogion translations of an excerpt from "Pwyll" yesterday, here's the InterTran on-line Welsh-to-English rendering. I admit that it worked all right when I tested a short phrase in Latin and in Spanish, for comparison. No Irish or Old English machinery to date! What do you think of the results? Perhaps the medieval text overwhelms the software in the same way Gawain or Chaucer might. (I found out today that Pwyll's also on Wikipedia as "an icy crater of Europa," Jupiter's moon. And that by googling images for Mabinogi, there's catalogued an immense number of Japanese cutesy anime.)

The Welsh:

"Meuyl im," heb hi, "yr blwydyn y neithwyr o'r pan elem yn nyblyc yn dillat guely, na digrifwch, nac ymdidan, nac ymchwelut ohonot dy wyneb attaf i — yn chwaethach a uei uwy no hynny o'r bu y rom ni."

Ac yna y medylywys ef, "Oy a Arglwyd Duw," heb ef, "cadarn a ungwr y gydymdeithas, a diffleeis, a geueis i yn gedymdeith." Ac yna y dywot ef wrth y wreic:

"Arglwydes," heb ef, "na chapla di uiui. Y rof i a Duw," heb ynteu, "ni chyskeis inheu gyt a thi, yr blwydyn y neithwyr, ac ni orwedeis."

Ac yna menegi y holl gyfranc a wnaeth idi.

"I Duw y dygaf uy nghyffes," heb hitheu, "gauael gadarn a geueist ar gedymdeith yn herwyd ymlad a frouedigaeth y gorff, a chadw kywirdeb wrthyt titheu."

"Arglwydes," heb ef, "sef ar y medwl hwnnw yd oedwn inheu, tra deweis wrthyt ti."

"Diryued oed hynny," heb hitheu.

The English:

Meuyl to , " without she , " he drives years the will become a member he ' group when we were to go crookedly tracts crookedly mselves guely , I do mirth , nor ymdidan , nor thal from he covers face attaf I — crookedly much less I go uei uwy no that he ' group he was the rom we." And there the medylywys he Oy I go dj. & adv.) God , " without he , " strong I go ungwr the gydymdeithas , I go diffleeis , I go geueis I crookedly gedymdeith." And there the d we earnested he by the advance : " dj. & adv.) , " without he , " I do neel di uiui. The I give I I go God , " without or , " we chyskeis inheu gyt I go thi , he drives years the will become a member , and we esorts." And there s glancing the all meeting I go he did idi. " I God the I steal uy confession , " without her digress gauael strong I go geueist signs gedymdeith crookedly one scouted.) I go frouedigaeth the body , I go keep kywirdeb by titheu." " dj. & adv.) , " without he , " namely signs the g that yd we delay inheu , while I was silent by you." " to age that , " without her digress.

Image-- I suppose it's not of Pwyll but Annywn-- from a beautiful webpage (unfortunately for me in German), where there's a titular alteration to "Pwyll Häuptling von Annwvyn" for the First Branch rather than Ford's "Pwyll, prince of Dyfed." The art's from a sumptuous Bibliothek Nemeton series by Alexander A. Gronau.


G R Grove said...

The answer to your question would appear to be "no"!!! ;-)

Bo said...

OWWWW!! That's painful. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't recognise the medieval defective verb 'heb', 'said', confusing it with 'heb', 'without'. And of course the spelling conventions of MW differ from that of the modern language.