Fun with Translation

by Jay Nordlinger

Mistranslation, that is. At the end of Impromptus today, I have a little language note: What’s your shortened form of “microphone” — “mic” or “mike”? I’m a “mike” guy. I’m even more strongly a “miked” guy.

A reader writes,

Mornin’, Jay,

A decade or so back, in the early days of computerized translation, one of my friends gave an English-to-French auto-translator a little greeting: “Hi. I’m Mike.” The translation came back, “Bonjour. Je suis le microphone.”

To use a word that Rick Perry employed, some weeks ago: Oops.