Translation challenges

It’s that time again.  I’m in the middle of a deployment tonight – this time it’s not a new software release, but the replacement of a server that runs a portion of the software platform my company is responsible for.  It’s a pretty complicated process, made more so by the fact that The Chinese Contingent is conversing in Chinese in the Skype chat I have going with them.  To keep up, I’m constantly copying and pasting their messages into Google Translator.

Rewind to lunchtime yesterday, at the office.  I ate with Long Back Guy, and we discussed work stuff – no funny stories from him this time.  As I was leaving the lunch room, I said, “I hope things go OK tomorrow,” referring to this server replacement.  He just laughed at me, heartily, as though to say there was no way this would go smoothly today.  Of course, he was right.  We’re having problems as we speak.  Problems I can do little about, except use Google Translator to have some sense of what they are.  The step we’re at right now involves copying data – normally, there is a centralized process we can call that copies all the data we need and we just have to sit and wait around for it to finish.  It takes an hour and a half or so.  This centralized process isn’t working, though, so the guys are copying data for each individual application that runs on the platform.  When the point person handling this was asked how long it would take, he replied with this (Note:  this part was typed in English because the person asking the question asked in English):

there are 39 applications need to do copy

if we figer 5 min for each app, then got 200 min almost

i will update my evaluate, when first app done

So, my task at the moment is to wait for his evaluate.  Since I am stuck translating tonight, I will share the love and give you a different sort of translation challenge to chew on.  Earlier this evening, I got an email about the server replacement (technically called a cutover), and my other half was closer to my computer than I was – I asked her to read the email to me.

There is a  trust from beaver to coyote, I  have confirmed with Mike and we think it should be configured the same way for mouse (from mouse to coyote).  Please ask Frank to do it as well.  We need to make sure that on mouse the following command can be executed without inputting a password:

oracle@mouse:/$ssh oracle@coyote

[Note:  Person and animal names changed to protect the innocent.]  Now, I didn’t give my other half any background before reading this email, and she only got through the first sentence before she looked at me, puzzled, and said, “Is this real?  Is it a joke?”  I said, “No.  Keep reading.”  When she got to the final line, she read $ssh as “Shhhhhhh!”  This was highly amusing to me, though it may not be to you unless you are also a computer nerd.  It is common practice for development shops to give their servers names, and they often pick fairly random classes of terms to use.  In this case, animals.  Our client names their software releases after cars, and their servers after animals – most of the time.

I got this message in a recent email about an unrelated project:

I dropped off the gzipped tarball on nap-happy

I love that sentence, don’t you?  If you are really interested in knowing what it means, let me know, but it’s not actually very exciting at all, and I expect most of you would fall asleep if I spelled it out.  I will say, though, that ‘nap-happy’ refers to a server, so there must be some servers our client has that are named according to emotions – or perhaps the seven dwarves – I can’t really be sure.

4 thoughts on “Translation challenges

  1. haha…google translater can produce some extremely funny translations at times. I can only imagine what a mess this all is for you. A million years ago I worked in IT at a VA hospital (this was back when computers were larger than my refrigerator.) Anyway, we’d get lowest-bidder printers with the crazy Chinglish directions that were priceless. You know, things like, “Much happiness will occur if the king switch is set to number one priority.”

    So, here we would be, goofy programers (not hardware people) trying to set up printers and scanners and monitors with no idea what we were doing with indecipherable instructions. Sigh. God, that was so funny. Of course, I’m sure the poor people on the units who were watching us as we were laughing and doing a completely crappy job setting things up didn’t think it was all nearly as funny as we did.

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