In the mid 1990s, many hamster generations ago when the internet was new and websites few, the service employee who cared for my ancestors read every web page she could find about hamsters. She was particularly amused by those based in Asia that used less then perfect - and sometimes hilarious - translated English.
Times have changed, but the translations have improved little if at all. We did a little surfing just for fun.
At a website in Japan, for instance, we found the cute hamster calendar pictured above. A note to the buyer, in Google-English, advises: "This product is discontinued in stock as long as there is a case where I am allowed to cancel if the stock was found after an order reception desk." Okay. Gotcha.
The product description, also translated by Google, reads as follows: "2013 edition THE HAMSTER calendar is a calendar of cute animals will heal you every day. All color. It is a calendar of cute hamster was taken with a fisheye lens. BIG original seal."
Wikipedia. As you may have guessed, it comes in many languages, including Japanese. The entry under "Hamster," when translated to English from the original Japanese, includes this alarming content: " Extinction is threatened Golden hamster wild, but, for breeding, breeding is easy, pet name recognition is high is breeding as experimental animals."
Ouch! We think they're saying that Syrian hamsters in the wild may be on the verge of extinction. But our species remains common because of "easy" breeding. But as lab animals? Is that what they wrote? God forbid!
The Googlese translated Wikipedia also points out that the Syrian hamster "tail is short" and "hides under the fur." As to our ability to see and hear, we're told this: "Vision of hamsters also, without so good and colorblind is.....Further, it is said to be able to listen to high-frequency, it is believed to also have to communicate with each other by the ultrasonic."
In other words, our vision is limited but we hamsters can communicate with each other at a frequency that you humans can't detect. Hah! Your red teeshirt may look like gray to us, but we can talk about you and you can't hear us! So there!
And then there's the cute little hamster pictured above. Name's Musashi. The photo is posted on a website where readers add comments. Here are some of them, translated from Japanese to what passes for English in Googlespeak:
"Be careful Since you're great thing when you escape."
"Na serious attention from Cheep Cheep get fat if you do too much food."
"Watch out hamster my sister because I died in mango juice."
"Ill be expanding." That's the caption that appears under this photo, found on another Japanese website and translated by Google. The text includes what follows:
"Appearance of such a hamster melting away the attention and 'rice cake' that it's like 'Tai Fook,' photo tweet of the owner's a storm of retweets."
It adds that the photo "has been retweeted 10,000 times already." But seriously, I don't think the hamster is melting!
"Feeling of hamster, that I understand the psychology of hamster." That's the headline on an unillustrated text, translated online, of course. The report begins:
"Here, I guide, the psychology of hamsters up to about two weeks from attack. One of the features of the nature of the hamster very strong [curiosity] has. If I a good environment, the hamster, curiosity comes full springs. And owner, fun, take great communication, this very strong [curiosity] hamster is because have. However, when the hamster just celebrated at home, there is no exhibit this curiosity, the margin of the heart." (The brackets most likely identify words where translation is questionable.)
The psychology of hamsters after attack? What attack? We can't quite guess how a lack of curiosity when "celebrated at home" relates to "the margin of the heart." Ah, romance!
... Speaking of which....
The cute picture advertises an event described as "small animal modeling and miscellaneous goods exhibition." But, please, no children or cameras! It asks customers to "purchase brochure admission school children only ... is forbidden. Venue photography prohibited."
Maybe they'll have supermodel hamsters on the runway wearing the latest in designer wedding dresses. And maybe they'll include a little hamster-sized Victoria's Secret to attract the single male of the species. Your guess is probably as bad as mine.
And here at last is one I completely understand. The text below the photo says simply, "Where a small brain ... is there such wisdom." Hear, hear!
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