When you think of Google, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For millions of Americans, it’s the fact that they didn’t listen to investment advice back in 2004 to buy 500 shares at $45.
But the second thing that comes to mind when you mention Google is this: innovation.
Among Google’s most impressive innovations is Google Translate, which lets you translate a phrase from one language into any of more than sixty other languages – even Latin – which comes in really handy if you’re considering becoming say, the Archbishop of Kent.
Say you’re in France on a business trip and you’re hungry. Google Translate will take this English expression: I am very hungry. Let’s go to McDonalds so I can order a Happy Meal.
And turn it into this perfect French translation: Je suis très faim. Allons au McDonalds pour que je puisse commander un Happy Meal. Je déteste ces odieux, arrogants bâtards Américains.
Or Chinese, Turkish, Polish, or Swahili.
Now Google has taken translation to the next level with Google Translate – Family Edition. For years, parents have tried to communicate with their teenagers about the importance of cleaning up her room, only to have their words misunderstood, as if spoken in some incomprehensible ancient Gaelic dialect.
Frustrated wives have pleaded with lazy husbands to put down the remote and rake the leaves, wondering how it is that their plain English words apparently convert into Greek in their husband’s brain. But in fairness, many experts lay the blame on women. When your team is only down by three points with 1:37 remaining (in the second quarter) and they have the ball on the other team’s 17-yard line, that’s no time to be talking about raking leaves, most football analysts point out.
Google Translate – Family Edition (GTFE) comes with several convenient translation options: Husband to Wife; Wife to Husband; Parent to Child; Older Sibling to Younger Sibling, and my own favorite, Owner to Dog, to name just a few. Here’s how it works:
From Teenager to Parent
Teenager says this: Dad, can I borrow the car? Me, Tommy and Chad want to go to a friend of Mitch’s brother’s best friend’s cousin’s house. I promise to be home by 11pm.
GTFE translates it into this: Dad, can I take your expensive Lexus – the one that I dinged last month when I ran into that stop sign – and load it up with two of my drunken friends and two more complete strangers and drive excessive speeds with the stereo blasting so loud I can’t even hear myself think? If everything goes right – and it probably won’t – I might have the car back in the vicinity of 2am – probably with a small ding I won’t tell you about and hopefully you’ll never notice.
From Parent to Teenager
Parent says this: For the fifth and final time, clean up the mess you and your friends left in the living room. I’m NOT going to pick up your trash and 19 half-empty cans of Mountain Dew. Don’t make me ask you again. I mean it.
GTFE translates it into this: (Faint sound emanating from the general vicinity of your parent – does not sound particularly important. She is not yelling yet so consider it safe to ignore. Keep listening to Dipstick Spleen on your iPod at full volume.)
From Husband to Wife
Husband says this: How many more outfits are you going to try on? We’re gonna be late. Just pick any of them. It does not matter. It’s just a potluck with Jenny and Bill, for goodness sake.
GTFE translates it into this: Please take all the time in the world in deciding which bracelet goes with your new jade ear rings. This is a very important potluck with Jenny and Bill. Don’t embarrass me by wearing the pantsuit that makes your butt look fat. What you wear is a critical decision that may have far-ranging consequences. I’m in no hurry. The game does not start for another seven minutes.
From Wife to Husband
Wife says this: Honey, just this once, can we watch something other than NASCAR? There is a Lifetime special about a blind, working-class widow who works three jobs and puts her five kids through college, never letting them know she is dying of cancer. Let’s watch it together. What do you say, sweetie?
GTFE translates it into this: Don’t mind me. I am just nattering on about nothing in particular. I hope I’m not distracting you too much from the race. Who’s leading? Oh look at me, just rambling on when you’re trying to watch those cars. Would you like me to get you another cold beer from the fridge? Want nachos with that?
From Pet Owner to Family Dog
Pet Owner says this: I love you, Bongo, yes I do. You’re such a good boy. Hammer, bungee jump, bottlenose, jack hammer, cheese whiz, foxhole, socket wrench, Yes you are!
GTFE translates it into this: Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, Bongo.
Google is reportedly still working on an Owner to Cat edition but so far, everything seems to translate into the same output: I have no interest in what you’re saying. Please just shut up and pet me now.
Early indicators are that Google is working on a new “body language” release of GTFE which will translate teenage girls’ eye rolls and teenage boys’ monotone grunts into intelligible phrases comprehensible to the average suburban parent – even soccer moms. For millions of families, this upgrade can’t come out soon enough.