While most of the spam I get on my Wordpress blog is pretty basic stuff, comments like “good point” and “best blog I read this week”, every so often I get a comment that’s in a foreign language. I’m always curious, what do they say? Is there a way to translate a language, even if you don’t know what language it actually is?
A healthy curiosity is a wonderful thing! The vast majority of spam comments on your WordPress blog undoubtedly come from programs and those programs are usually primed with text phrases or words, so they just randomly pick a few to a few dozen words and spew them out, with the key objective being the link to whatever site is involved.
Even in a foreign language, they’re still gobbledygook, of course. But what do they actually say? I run Akismet on my own WordPress blog and it automatically filters out the vast majority of spammy comments, which are apparently fairly easy to identify within a program. Thank goodness!
Every so often, however, a comment slips through and sometimes they’re in a language I too can’t figure out, so I can’t know whether it’s a solid legit comment in that language or just some spam. But Google knows!
Let’s start with this comment that showed up here on Ask Dave Taylor over the weekend:
What does it say? I have absolutely no idea, and the linked site domain and email domain don’t offer up any sort of clue either, being a .com and .net.
To find out what the comment says, I select it and copy it. With it in the copy/paste buffer, I then open a new tab and go to Google Translate:
Now it’s a simple matter of making sure that the left box is set to “Detect language” then pasting the foreign language comment into the box.
Instantly it shows the translation:
Machine language translation systems are somewhat notorious for their rough translations (often because they go word-by-word instead of phrase or sentence by sentence). The original Vietnamese comment might be a bit more sensible and grammatically correct, but even with that disclaimer, it’s a quick task to eyeball the English translation and know that, yeah, this is spam.
Too bad. Somehow I’d hoped it would be a thoughtful and erudite addition to the discussion on that particular page but… not this time.