The Italianist

Things That Happen in Italy

Archive for November 2010

Evolutionary Theory and Italian Politics

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If  a ‘conservative’ country can be defined as one which is wary of changing, we have a clear winner.

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Written by TheItalianist

11/11/2010 at 17:42

I did vote for Berlusconi, didn’t I?

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The Italian Newspaper La Repubblica points out an interesting fact about Google Translate. If you type in the sentence “Io ho votato Berlusconi”, Google translates correctly with “I did vote for Berlusconi”.

But if you write “Io non ho votato Berlusconi” (“I did not vote for Berlusconi”), Google gives you the same translation as before: “I did vote for Berlusconi”.

The same happens for translations from many other languages. However, if instead of Berlusconi, a different politician’s name is put in the sentence, Google does translate correctly. More details here.

Willing to improve my English, I just went on Google Translate, and tried myself: however, the mistake pointed out by La Repubblica does not seem to happen. What does happen is, nonetheless, that when you write ‘Berlusconi’, the translation is slightly awkward (“I do not have voted Berlusconi”), whereas it comes up correctly (“I did not vote for X”) with a different name.

Why does Google get things messed up when it comes to him? Who’s been fecking around with the translations of Berlusconi? According to unofficial sources, the Mafia has been hijacking Google Translate, so that people cannot get it right when they write about Berlusconi in other languages, thus undermining the Italian PM’s credibility abroad.

Don’t know what happens with the other languages.

Written by TheItalianist

08/11/2010 at 15:37

Posted in Ma che caz..?

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Amidst the Ruins

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Today, a building in the ancient area of the Pompeii Village, in Southern Italy collapsed. Pompeii has escaped the eruptions of the Vesuvium, it has managed to survive bombs during WWII (accidentally dropped by the Americans). However, it could not resist after years and years of water infiltration into its buildings, due to general carelessness and lack of proper maintenance works. More on this can be found here and here.

I find it symbolic that the building in question used to be the House of the Gladiators. That was the place where gladiators would train and prepare to fight. What happens when such place ‘collapses’? Is that a message that there might be no reason, or no hope, to fight any more?

Luckily, the Italian Minister of Culture, Sandro Bondi, who is in charge of the care of Italy’s heritage, has immediately stood up to comment: “If it was my fault, I would resign!” This is Bondi, in an image that captures his relentless effort to assist the Prime Minister in Parliament:

In addition to his achievements as Minister of Culture, Bondi is well-known for reprimanding Quentin Tarantino, a snobbish movie director, when he had commented on the quality of Italian cinema in a not very friendly way.

Unofficial sources have suggested that the Government is already planning an emergency strategy to deal with this very serious incident that, according to the same sources, is believed to be part of a large plan of the Mafia. As this post is going into (world)press, a meeting is taking place at the Prime Minister’s residence in Palazzo Grazioli, in Rome, where the leader is working hard, with some colleagues, to solve the country’s problems. There are consistent rumours that Berlusconi is about to appoint one of his best men to direct a rescue plan, which allegedly is going to be called “Operation Bunga-Bunga”.

Written by TheItalianist

07/11/2010 at 22:26