Translating MooT into German

Recently, some online wag suggested that I put together a German version of MooT to see if I could make Germans laugh. I thought: What the heck. Maybe there's a market. So to dabble at it and see if the idea had legs, I tried out Google's translation software on some MooT questions.

I went online to and typed the following garden-variety MooT question into the text window.

Is the invisible Barbie Doll beyond your ken?

Next, I set the translation-type to English to German and pressed Translate. Instantly, the following appeared in the companion text window:

Ist die unsichtbare Puppe Barbie über Ihrem hinaus ken?

Very interesting. Unfortunately, I don't understand German.

So I copied the German version back into the translate window, set it for German to English and again pressed Translate. The following appeared:

Is the invisible doll Barbie over your outside ken?

Again. Very Interesting, and it does have a tangibly Germanic feel to it. But it’s not funny. Nor is it a good MooT question. Because for MooT questions to work, they must have an answer. The Teutonic question above has no answer. It can only be interpreted.

On the bright side, maybe that's how the Germans could play German MooT: The team that goes first rolls the die, the other team reads the question to them loudly. After that both teams spend the rest of the game arguing over what the question means. The team that's the most adamant wins.

I decided to continue the experiment and typed in the following (personal favourite) Moot question:

Is urine pith?

Selected English to German and clicked Translate. Herr Google replied:

Ist Urin Stärke? [Mein Kapitän!]

Very Hogan’s Heroes. I like it. As usual, I pasted the German version back into the translation window, selected German to English and -- with heightened anticipation -- pressed Translate. Google replied.

Is urine the strong one?

Again, nicely Teutonic and even (un-intentionally) funny. This was starting to look promising, so I did some further tests, the results of which appear in the following table:

Moot question (English)

German translation

German sent back to English

My Comment

When Peter Piper picks a pus-filled pimple, has Peter Piper picked a pustule?

Wann Peter Piper einen pus-gefüllten Pimple, hat wählt Peter Piper ausgewählt ein pustule aus?

When does Peter Piper a pus filled Pimple, have selects Peter Piper selected a pustule?

Not funny, gibberish

Is the Pope a primate?

Ist der Papst ein Primas?

Is the Pope a Primas?

Kind of funny, gibberish

Do cons speak prose?

Sie Nachteile sprechen Prosa?

You disadvantages speak prose?

Weird, gibberish

Gays call them "seafood". What do heteros call them? (Answer: Sailors)

Homosexuell nennen sie "Fisch". Was heteros nennen? (Antwort: Sailors)

Gay they call "fish". What heteros call? (Answer: Sailors)

Approaches the frontiers of both humour and sense

When a Canadian woman travels in the continental United States, is she abroad?

Wenn eine kanadische Frau in den kontinentalen Vereinigten Staaten reist, ist sie im Ausland?

If a Canadian woman traveling in the continental United States: it is in another country?

Very weird, maybe even sexist.

After these pathetic attempts, the translation issue was starting to look very problematic, so to move forward I changed focus and bounced around some marketing ideas for a Germanic MooT. After hours of brainstorming and with the aid of Herr Google, this is the best slogan I was able to come up with:

MööT -- ein Spiel von Fragen über Dinge, die Sie nicht kennen

(MooT -- a game of questions about things you do not know)

In the end, it all seemed unworkable, so I abandoned the project. There will be no German MooT (Es wird keine deutschen Moot sein).



Darf ich zu schärfen meinen Bleistift? [May I sharpen my pencil?]

Nanette Wizov new jersey

Wenn der Bleistift braucht Schärfen, sollte klargestellt werden schärfer [If the pencil needs sharpening, it should be sharpened.]

Cheers, The Mootguy (Beifall, Der Moot Kerl) .


As a German, I must say that google translations are still surprisingly bad.
Not to worry, a lot of us understand enough English to get your Canadian humour, potzblitzen, haha and all that.
Good experiment and thank you for the English fun.

Carolin, UK

Thank you for the German feedback. -- Beifal, Der Moot Kerl