Correction: machine translation generates false irony

This Yiddish-language recruiting poster for a settlement in the Soviet Union’s Jewish Autonomous Region translates in part as, “Come to us in קאָלװירט.” But what might that last word, kolvirt, mean? The other day my own Yiddish wasn’t good enough to help, and I couldn’t find the word in any Yiddish dictionary. The source where I found the image, https://us.bidspirit.com/ui/lotPage/source/catalog/auction/1769/lot/112597/SOVIET-UNION-Drive-to-the?lang=en, translates the text as “Drive to the collective farm,” but that’s obviously wrong. You don’t drive a tractor to a farm, you drive it on a farm, and those first four words are an invitation to come, not to go.

Yiddish poster C

But online, the image links via image search to a machine translation of a Yiddish-language history of the Autonomous Region which translates kolvirt as the name of a settlement called, wait for it, Calvary.

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=iw&u=https://yi.wikipedia.org/wiki/%25D7%2596%25D7%2590%25D7%25A8%25D7%25A2%25D7%2598%25D7%25A9%25D7%25A0%25D7%2590%25D7%2599%25D7%25A2&prev=search

“Calvary” is also the machine translation of the word in some other online Yiddish texts, so I went ahead and wrote an ironic blogpost about linking a Christian term by cartographic fiat to a Jewish woman praying (in the gray background, behind the Red tractor girls) over her Sabbath candles. After your shift is over, ladies of the sisterhood, won’t you join us in Calvary for mah jongg?

But קאָלװירט is scattered around Google’s machine-translation garage in other twentieth-century Yiddish texts, and it isn’t always rendered there as “Calvary.” Sometimes it comes out, meaninglessly, as “culvert,” and often it’s just left in transliteration. Besides, the usual Russian word for “Calvary” transliterates as Golgofa. And how much implausible Christian irony can one little Jewish population plausibly sustain, even if the Party has vouchsafed it its own Autonomous Region?

Besides (2, to be filed under “Funny, you don’t look Jewish”) in this version of the poster the tractor crew has been migrated candles and all to Mongolia, and there the Oirat-language word kolxosko at least looks to my uneducated eye like the Russian колхоз, kolkhoz, “collective farm.”

PP633
https://www.posterplakat.com/posters/PP%20633

And finally (3) I couldn’t find the mystery Yiddish word in any of the Yiddish dictionaries I consulted, but here it is, long way around, in an English dictionary.

Wiktionary

I’ve deleted my original post accordingly.

Professor Foucault asks an Indonesian computer, “What is an author?”

At Amazon.com in 2011, somebody named M. C. Hewins wrote of her college composition text, The Little Seagull Handbook:

“This was required for a writing class I took this quarter, but has proved useful in several other classes as well. The handbook is very well organized with no fluff or nonsense. Most college writing focuses on MLA style, which this book covers in excellent detail, but occasionally you will be asked to write in a different and unfamiliar style and at that time, this book will come to the rescue. I was able to write a history paper in Chicago style with the help of the Little Seagull.

“Additionally the book has an online website for reference and further details, with complete sample papers in all the styles, that you can explore in depth. I used the website resource on multiple occasions this last quarter and my papers benefited from the attention to detail on style.

“Finally, the greatest benefit of the Little Seagull Handbook is that it is in fact, little. It is small, compact and light as a feather, which is a godsend to all of us students who are already carrying around too much weight in our backpacks. Its light enough that I don’t mind bringing it around ‘just in case’ I need it, although I would prefer a kindle edition to reduce the weight even more. Highly recommended!”

Thereupon, this site

http://encyclopediaspdfebooks.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-little-seagull-handbook.html

engaged itself in a process of what I suppose Foucault might have called plagiotraduction. In a similar spirit before the cyber era, Emily Dickinson produced several copies of an all-purpose social text in three major variant forms which begin, respectively, “Going to him! happy letter!,” “Going to her! happy letter!,” and “Going to them! happy letter!”

Such a beau geste privileges expressivity over mere words. It reduces language to an ancilla, humbly-dumbly serving the primary necessities of emotion and commerce. In tribute to the beau geste, then, let us affix a Zamenhof stamp,

kiss the page, and read from the blog:

This was appropriate for a autograph chic I took this quarter, but has accepted advantageous in several added classes as well. The handbook is actual able-bodied organized with no boner or nonsense. Most academy autograph focuses on MLA style, which this book covers in accomplished detail, but occasionally you will be asked to address in a altered and alien appearance and at that time, this book will appear to the rescue. I was able to address a history cardboard in Chicago appearance with the advice of the Little Seagull.

Additionally the book has an online website for advertence and added details, with complete sample affidavit in all the styles, that you can analyze in depth. I acclimated the website ability on assorted occasions this endure division and my affidavit benefited from the absorption to detail on style.

Finally, the greatest account of the Little Seagull Handbook is that it is in fact, little. It is small, bunched and ablaze as a feather, which is a advantage to all of us acceptance who are already accustomed about too abundant weight in our backpacks. Its ablaze abundant that I don’t apperception bringing it about ‘just in case’ I charge it, although I would adopt a blaze copy to abate the weight even more. Highly recommended!