Beauties of Translation, pt.2: Lempiä lainausmerkit hänen

As I wrote earlier in my post about Dr Okell’s Wondrous Beer Translation, I am great fan of machine translations — they sort of underline our close and affectionate relationship with information technology, and the current (rather cute) state of artificial infan… I mean intelligence. This time I dedicate my love to a sidebar widget provided by Google, titled “Lempiä lainausmerkit hänen”. I suppose the original title has something to do with memorable quotes about love, but the machine translates ‘quotes’ with the Finnish word for ‘quotation marks’, and also the actual content of these “quotation marks” follows the same, delightful logic:

Lainausmerkit widget

This is so cute — just think about it: the machine even has translated ‘Honoré’ as ‘kunnioittaa’ (meaning ‘respects’). *smileysmiley* Link to widget’s page:

Edit: the original de Balzac quote is probably this: “True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure, without violent demonstrations: it is seen with white hairs and is always young in the heart.”

Futures seminar

(Pictured Marja Tiura, and the neck of Jyrki J.J. Kasvi.)

Today I am participating in a seminar organised by the Futures Committee of Finnish Parliament, focusing on the challenges of urbanisation, globalisation and civilization (Sivistys ja metropolit). I want to remind the participants about the need for comprehensive understanding (deep in thinking about the past, as well as the present and the future), also creating intergenerational and interdisciplinary dialogue that facilitates flexibility and innovation in small as well as in larger scale. Fantasy is one measurement: how much imagination we are willing to accept in our everyday? Arts and crafts is another: do we allow ‘everyman’ (everywoman, everychild) to be creative? Questions for our future…

Vista Movie Maker Black Screen Bug

This appears to be a somewhat common problem among the users of Vista/Windows Movie Maker, and I did not find any help, so here is our solution.

  • Issue: the movie previews work fine when you watch it within the Windows Movie Maker. However, when you publish it, the video is just black screen, but you can still hear the audio. Changing publishing settings does not help, and the video files themselves are ok, no codec problems etc. there.
  • Solution: the affected clips in our case had “mute” setting applied to them (in order to have a separate soundtrack; click under Timeline to expand > Video > Audio [rightclick] Mute). When mute was removed, also video was published fine. This must be a bug, and a weird one. Well, setting the sound level for each clip to zero worked fine for us as a workaround, but MS should fix the software, of course.

Our system uses Vista Home Premium, the Movie Maker was version 6.0.6000.16386. Video clips (mpg) were produced by Sony DCR-SR52 camera.

Links to similar sounding error reports:

Participating in Digital Archiving seminar

Today I am taking part in the ‘Digiaika talteen’ seminar in the Finnish National Library in Helsinki. At the beginning of this year, a new law came into operation, concerning archiving digital cultural heritage. New kinds of ‘cultural materials’ have existed since the development of first computers, and exponentially when the Internet started connecting people using these digital technologies. We have actually lived sort of ‘digital dark Middle-Ages’ in terms of archiving, since so much of the early history of digital texts, images, games, web pages and other forms of digital expression have already been lost. Now there is at least a law that dictates how everyone, who publishes something in Finnish that is made available to public, is obliged to collaborate with the archivists to provide permanent copies into the National Audiovisual Archive (the old SEA, the movie archive). The job is huge; one estimate is that 50 million pages with c. 2–3 terabytes of data will be gathered in two automatic annual searches.

Nokia N95 8 GB and the era of ultraportables


Along with some new research projects where we look into the service distribution models of games, my new primary work phone has changed into Nokia N95 8GB model. So far I have been mostly satisfied; and in contrast to E70, this time it is possible to connect my Sony DR-BT50 headphones to the mobile phone (N95 supports A2DP over Bluetooth). N95 is also a decent media player and it is possible to listen to mp3 music and watch videos. Internet browser has improved and social media sites like YouTube and Flickr are taken in with some special consideration – image upload from the camera application to Flickr is now just one click away.

Games are still perhaps the biggest question mark of the upgraded N-Gage brand. I am not particularly enthusiastic about rally or sports games, and those feature visible in the opening portfolio. More games should be arriving soon, including pet simulation (Dogz), more pets simulation (Sims 2 Pets), golf, yet another Worms and Snakes, plus action: Brothers in Arms, ONE. The service in itself looks interesting, with player profiles, buddy lists and other social service basics in place.

All in all, it is surprising how powerful contemporary mobile phones already are. Yet, the usability of Nokia OS is still seriously behind e.g. that of Apple iPhone. Where you just want to have one thing to happen, N95 will still ask you verifications for this and that, get stuck in dialogues or wait for input from softkeys, where iPhone would automatically just have started the default action. But I have not yet used iPhone for anything beyond most casual first impression, so a more thorough comparison needs to wait for later. (Timetable for 3G iPhone launch, anyone?)

I must admit I am so text oriented user, that the biggest drawback of N95 for me is that it does not have a QWERTY keyboard. The size is compact for that reason, of course, but this means that I still need to carry two devices with me always.

The happy note is that ultraportable laptops like Asus Eee PC, HP’s 2133 Mini-Note PC and other UMPC and upscale/next gen PDAs are blooming and a gadget freak will have happy times ahead. (Asus Eee PC 900 review here:

Doctor Okell's Wondrous Beer Translation

Sometimes the automated translation services produce something useful, and sometimes not. This is actually more of amusement value, so it fits nicely with Vappu celebrations. Reading the back label of my beer bottle, I noticed something a bit odd. E.g.: “Contains Malted Barley” is translated into Finnish as “Hillitä ohra maltalainen” (roughly: “moderating barley that lives in Malta”), “Best before: See bottle Neck” is “Parhaiten aiemmin: Hiippakunta pullottaa halailla” (roughly: “Used to be best: the diocese [sic!] bottles with cuddles”). The little text up right that you probably cannot read from the image says “Brewed in the Isle of Man”, which is translated following the same excellent logic as “Oluenpanija kotona The Isle of Man luona” (roughly: “The beer brewer is at home with The Isle of Man near/with”).

Hilarious — thank you very much, Dr Okell’s!

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