Last post, I mentioned this interesting online tool: babelfish. Babelfish is a translator. I was curious about this because it seems like you need a human touch to be an effective translator. I was also intruiged by this because sometimes randomness turns out interesting things.
This time, I decided to begin with a Spanish version of Genesis 1. I choose the version at “Bible Gateway” that basically looked like the Spanish words for “New International Version” I then clicked the button so that this would be translated into English.
This is what it came up with:
This is the actual English language version of Genesis 1:
“1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. ”
Is it just because the words in the first version are fresh and new that I find them cooler than the actual words in Genesis 1? “God, in the principle…” I love that. Of course the clunky “it” in the next line has to go, but the image of the Earth being a “total chaos” is so much more interesting than “empty” and that the light “got to exist” after God said it did, it makes me think of light like a happy five year old, happy to get an extra snack.
I know that there’s probably some grump somewhere who finds this irreverant. I realize that error could creep in here. I’d never advise a person live their life according to words that were translated by a computer.
But there is some things that we’ll never have good words for. There are some ideas that every translation will always fail. I think anything that allows us to interact with scripture, and explore it, and view it in new ways is a really cool thing. I’m really looking foreward to playing with this new toy.