Meesa like Web talk?

Stand aside Swedish Chef, Jar Jar Binks translates the Net.


Jamais Cascio
June 23, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

As if you needed more Jar Jar in your life, the Jar-Jargonizer has appeared -- to translate e-mail and Web pages from English to the annoying patois of "The Phantom Menace's" Jar Jar Binks. You can even send translated mail directly from the site. Amaze your friends! Frighten your enemies!

Created by Scott Murdock and Ken Wilson of Bad Movie Night, the Jar-Jargonizer is a toy for both Jar Jar fans and Jar Jar haters alike. According to Murdock, "Ken thoroughly hated 'The Phantom Menace' and felt that it was an insult to all true 'Star Wars' fans. I liked the movie but winced every time Jar Jar Binks spoke."

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The Jar-Jargonizer works best with large, diverse content, such as that from a Web site devoted to discussion. Slashdot and Salon.com's Table Talk work particularly well. "Don-nuh read it if you-sa're pure of heart," is the translation from the Slashdot excerpt: "Don't read it if you're pure of heart."

In the grand Internet tradition of sites with a five-minute amusement value, the Jar-Jargonizer has enough surprises in its output to keep a visitor playing for a while.

"I try to keep the translator up to date on current events so that national and especially world news stories make for fun reading," says Murdock. The Jar-Jargonizer includes Star Wars-appropriate translations for various vehicles, places, and names. Many visitors particularly enjoy the replacement of any reference to "Microsoft" with "The Sith."

Dialect translation programs predate the Web, and include the marginally amusing "jive" translator and the cockney translator, which does rhyming slang. Among the most beloved is the "borker", which translates text to sound like the "Muppet Show's" Swedish Chef. Originally posted to Usenet in 1993 by John Hagerman, the chef translator has become a common programming exercise.

For Murdock, the Jar-Jargonizer is a labor of love, and he is continually updating the content and tweaking the translations. "Basically we're adding new translations to the thing almost every day, so there will be new stuff to look for all the time."


Jamais Cascio

Jamais Cascio is a scenarist and writer working in Los Angeles, where he's still waiting to be discovered.

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