Using BabelFish for Story Ideas

25 May

A common enough technique – here’s the way I do it.

(1) Grab a bunch of headlines from your favourite news feed. Here I’ve grabbed the “Latest News Headlines” and “Editors Picks” from www.stuff.co.nz. You want short, punchy headlines. Strip out any numbers or timestamps.

Jeff Lima signs with South Sydney Rabbitohs
Quade has one more chance to impress Deans
NZ dollar down as euro weakens
Weak market dragged down
Rena captain and officer sent to jail
Gwaze jury locked in deliberations
Tobacco tax passes first hurdle
Google data shows Microsoft piracy problems
Belgrave Finance director faces jail
Budget strikes enviable balance – Key
Driver crashes into house, flees through fence
Roving cows bully drinkers out of beer
Google buys Motorola; Googlerola anyone?
Breaking down the daily grind

(2) Off to Yahoo! Babel Fish translation site http://babelfish.yahoo.com/.

(3) Paste the block of text (don’t worry about line breaks) and translate ENGLISH –> PORTUGUESE

Os sinais de Jeff Lima com Sydney sul Rabbitohs Quade têm uma mais possibilidade imprimir para baixo o dólar dos decanos NZ enquanto o euro se enfraquece Mercado fraco arrastado para baixo Capitão e oficial de Rena emitidos à cadeia Júri de Gwaze fechado nas deliberações Obstáculo das passagens do imposto do tabaco primeiro O diretor da finança de Belgrave dos problemas da pirataria de Microsoft das mostras dos dados de Google enfrenta a cadeia O orçamento golpeia o contrapeso invejável – chave O excitador deixa de funcionar na casa, fuje através dos bebedores recorrido da intimidação das vacas da cerca fora da cerveja Google compra Motorola; Googlerola qualquer um? Dividindo a moagem diária

(4) And again, this time PORTUGUESE –> FRENCH

Les signes de Jeff Lime avec Sydney sud Rabbitohs Quade ont un plus possibilités d’imprimer en bas le dollar des doyens NZ comme l’euro s’affaiblissent Marché faible traîné en bas Capitaine et agent de Renne émis à la chaîne Jury de Gwaze fermé dans les délibérations Obstacle des passages de l’impôt du tabac premier O directeur des finances de Belgrave des problèmes de la piraterie de Microsoft de tu montres des données de Google affronte à la chaîne budgétise frappe le contrepoids enviable – clé l’excitateur laisse fonctionner à la maison, fuje à travers les buveurs agréable de l’intimidation des vaches de près dehors de la bière Google achat Motorola ; Googlerola quiconque un ? En divisant la mouture quotidienne

(5) This time, we do FRENCH –> DUTCH

De tekens van Jeff Lime met zuidelijk Sydney Rabbitohs Quade hebben meer mogelijkheden d’ de dollar van de oudsten NZ als l’ beneden drukken; euro s’ verzwakken beneden meegesleepte Markt zwakke Kapitein en agent van Rendier die aan de lopende band Jury van Gwaze worden uitgezonden, die in de beraadslagingen Hinderpaal van de overgang van l’ is gesloten; belasting van de leidende tabak eerste O van de financiën van Belgrave van de problemen van de piraterij van Microsoft van jij trotseren de horloges van de gegevens van Google aan de lopende band in de begroting opnemen aanslag het benijdenswaardige tegengewicht – sleutel l’ excitateur laat aan het huis, fuje door de alcoholisten aangenaam van l’ werken; intimidatie van de koeien nauwkeurig buiten van het bier Google aankoop Motorola; Googlerola ieder die een? Door dagelijkse mouture te verdelen

(6) At last, back we go DUTCH -> ENGLISH

The signs of Jeff Lime with Southern Sydney Rabbitohs Quade have more possibilities d’ the dollar of the seniors NZ as l’ downstairs press; euro s’ weaken below dragged market weak captain and agent of reindeer who is transmitted to the conveyor jury of Gwaze, which in the deliberations obstacle of the passage of l’ has been closed; tax of leading tobacco first O of the finances of Belgrave of the problems of the piracy of Microsoft of you face the watches of the data of Google to the conveyor in the budget take attack the enviable counterweight – key l’ excitateur leave fuje agreeably to the house, by the alcoholics of l’ to work; intimidation of the cows closely of the beer Google purchase Motorola; Googlerola everyone which? By dividing daily mouture

(7) Now for the (virtual) highlighter pen. Look for short but slightly odd, or sometimes surreal, phrases. Notice that interesting chunks often came from the end of one mangled headline and the start of the next.

The signs of Jeff Lime with Southern Sydney Rabbitohs Quade have more possibilities d’ the dollar of the seniors NZ as l’ downstairs press; euro s’ weaken below dragged market weak captain and agent of reindeer who is transmitted to the conveyor jury of Gwaze, which in the deliberations obstacle of the passage of l’ has been closed; tax of leading tobacco first O of the finances of Belgrave of the problems of the piracy of Microsoft of you face the watches of the data of Google to the conveyor in the budget take attack the enviable counterweight – key l’ excitateur leave fuje agreeably to the house, by the alcoholics of l’ to work; intimidation of the cows closely of the beer Google purchase Motorola; Googlerola everyone which? By dividing daily mouture

(8) Collect the phrases.

  • The dollar of the seniors.
  • Weak captain and agent of reindeer.
  • Transmitted to the conveyor jury.
  • The deliberations obstacle.
  • The finances of Belgrave.
  • You face the watches.
  • Attack the enviable counterweight.
  • Intimidation of the cows.
  • The beer Google.

(9) Look at them, and try to think of a scenario for each one, in which the phrase – or the idea behind it – makes sense.  How do you get appointed as an agent of reindeer? Who is intimidating the cows, and why was it neccessary? What obstacle prevents deliberations (perhaps the removal of chairs to make meetings shorter)?

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