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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
A blog 'for independent minds'
Lost in translation
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Rick Holmes
July 30, 2013 12:01 a.m.



Maybe someone can explain this to me.

I wrote a column for Sunday’s MetroWest Daily News about Deval Patrick, headlined “Legacy of a lame duck”

Today, it appeared on an aggregator site I’d never heard of, only now, the headline reads “Legacy of a sore duck.”

The changes get funnier as you read on. I wrote: “Patrick, given to lofty rhetoric about social justice and civic engagement, has never been Governor Pothole.”

The translated version reads: “Patrick, given to lofty tongue about amicable probity and county engagement, has never been Governor Pothole.”

I wrote: “Patrick is a practical executive with a streak of idealism, so he appended to his transportation package provisions making the tax code more progressive, a commitment to regional equity, and investments targeted at bringing jobs to the state’s poorer places.”

The mutated version reads: “Patrick is a unsentimental executive with a strain of idealism, so he appended to his travel package supplies creation a taxation formula some-more progressive, a joining to informal equity, and investments targeted during bringing jobs to a state’s poorer places.”

You get the idea. My colleague Julia Spitz has noticed this phenomenon before, though this is the first time we’ve noticed this Massachusetts-only site.

It reads to me like a computer program translated the original out of English, then translated it back again. My question is, why?

I don’t see how randomly mangling my words would protect them from liability for copyright infringement. They do include my byline, and credit the MWDN, with a live link at the bottom to the original (and to this blog).  There are Google ads on the site, so I assume they are getting some hits. The mutant version of this story doesn’t pop up in the first few pages of a Google search, though July says she’s seen some mutant versions of her columns with pretty good SEO.

I’m assuming no humans were involved in choosing this piece or posting it, and probably no humans read it. At least I hope not.

But what’s the point?

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