Translation Guy Blog
“I want to make love to you like an Apollo.” Je veux te faire l’amour comme un Apollon. That’s a pickup line from Google Translate — nothing lost in that translation for the young American woman sharing an iPhone over her first Parisian dinner.
Reading the screen, she wonders, “Is he going to try and read me poetry?” or “Is he saying his lovemaking abilities are God-like?”
Amelia McDonell-Parry, editor-in-chief of The Frisky, went to France for a week and took a French lover. “He was a 24-year-old waiter that I met at the first restaurant I had dinner at and he didn’t speak any English. Don’t judge me (unless it’s for being awesome).”
When McDonell-Parry’s new French lover texted her via Google Translate that “Americans, they have the AIDS. America is where the AIDS is,” she got the message even though she thought it was a bit rude. “Still this was a good opportunity to re-clarify that neither of us has any STDs.”
But just as every week has its Saturday, lovers too must soon part, as lest on short vacations. Finally, the absent waiter texts, “I stay in a coma for four days! Nothing serious. Artificial traumatic coma stage 2! All okay now! The main thing is that I remember from my past.”
Again, Google Translate makes it crystal clear to McDonell-Parry. “All is okay because, wait, what? He remembers his past? Like, past lives? Oops, no, actually, passé also means “password” in French. In other words, the good news is, DESPITE THE STAGE 2 COMA, my French lover managed to remember his password so he could write me back. That’s what he means, isn’t it?”
Not only is McDonell-Parry a very funny writer, she did some video girl talk with her writer pals. The kind of international romance language tips you can only get from your BFFs: “I thought that it was a lot better because you could just focus on the sex.”
So Google Translate is a facilitator for casual sex. Gee, I didn’t see that coming. Did I mention that my 18-year-old daughter is interested in studying in Paris? Note to self: Further investigation required…
Part II Additional Evidence: Google Demo Slam: How to Pick Up an Asian Girl.
Analysis: Guy learns a lame Chinese pickup line on Google Translate, “Will you go out with me,” and then recites it to an Asian-American who is sweeping the sidewalk. In the video, she turns out to be a fluent English speaker and agrees to go out with him because she thought his Chinese was cute. If this was real life I don’t think it would have gone so well. Love like an Apollo.