1190: Time/Translator

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search

Here's a list of all the blurry text from the translator from 1190: Time, both with the original image and enhanced contrast.


The cartoon reflects the uncertainty of the translator's word choices and pronunciation by obscuring the text with ink blots and overlaying them with synonyms and extra meanings in large, light letters in the background.

For example, in the second panel, "whence" appears in bold letters and "from where" appears behind it in enlarged, lighter letters.

In the third panel "here" is also glossed in the background as "to this fortress".


A note about grammar:

  • The punctuation appears to be borrowed from the translator's native language.
  • The ring diacritic indicates a question mark.
  • A single line above a letter is a full stop.
  • A double line above a letter is colon or comma.

This might help in determining the native language a bit better.


Original picture capture Enhanced contrast picture
Text Background text
Notes and/or corrections
translator-1.png translator-contrast-1.png
"Somewhat" "Somewhat"
translator-2.png translator-contrast-2.png
"Whence have you traveled here" "From where"...
translator-3.png translator-contrast-3.png
"You arose here from the desert below?
Nobody resides there"
"To this fortress"... ..."sand"...
translator-4.png translator-contrast-4.png
"I am sorry.
Your language is like those
spoken by the [unclear-1] difficult
[unclear-2] but I learned it."
"I apologize"

U-1 & 2: Totally obscured.
translator-5.png translator-contrast-5.png
"Please be patient" "Please have patience"
translator-6.png translator-contrast-6.png
"They understand nöthing
so they will tend to matters."
translator-7.png translator-contrast-7.png
"Your bags" "Your packs"
translator-8.png translator-contrast-8.png
"They are heavy." "For"...[unclear-1]
U-1: "weighted"?
translator-9.png translator-contrast-9.png
"You're Welcome" "You are" ... "to it"
translator-10.png translator-contrast-10.png
"Tell me where your home is." "Tell" ... "house"
translator-11.png translator-contrast-11.png
"What river?"
translator-12.png translator-contrast-12.png
"How many people
strong are you?"
U-1: "...r...n...": strong?
translator-13.png translator-contrast-13.png
"Which is forty?
All my numbers are too small."
"Yes! Good."

translator-14.png translator-contrast-14.png
"Do you carry these people with you?"
With the implicit meaning of "did they come with you?" assuming the translator doesn't believe they are Cueball's imaginary friends or action figures.
translator-15.png translator-contrast-15.png
translator-16.png translator-contrast-16.png
"You do not know."
"I [Unclear-1]"

U-1: "m... ...se.": "must espouse."? U-2: "...ll...ina...": Possibly "illuminate"
translator-17.png translator-contrast-17.png
"Your sea does not stand alone:
There is another sea next to it
[Unclear-1] beyond the shore.
It has become [Unclear-2] to yours
[Unclear-3] levels differ
and thus water flows"...


U-1: Totally obscured.
U-2: "s...ed"
U-3: "b...": because? but their?
translator-18.png translator-contrast-18.png
"In time even the hills change.
When people first walked and first
built [Unclear-2] cities the seas were joined.
but there was a great [Unclear-3]
rock [Unclear-4] and the passage was closed.
Your sea [Unclear-5] with too few rivers.
Under the sun it shrank and the water fell.
The sea has found a way back in."



U-1: Totally obscured.
U-2: Totally obscured.
U-3: Totally obscured.
U-4: "w...": was isolated?
"Do you know where you are?"
"I will build you a
map to understanding."
"Find" "[Unclear-2]"
U-1: "...l..l": Will?
With the implicit meaning of "I'll find you a map to help your understanding".
U-2: "Do..." Do?
"This fortress is here."

"This sea is yours."

"This sea is joining yours."
The fortress is in southern France, the sea south of it in the present Mediterranean's basin, and the other "sea" is the Atlantic.
"And this is our belief
about the sea's new shore."
"We learned
it has happened before.
When our parents were learning
to walk upright,
the sea fled and returned."

U-1: "...ors": ancestors?
"Now it is happening again."
"This castle was once an island.
We found it and have tried to rebuild it."
U-1: "...a...red": Appeared?
"I guess
it will be an island again."
..."island again"
"We are learners/teachers.*
This fortress
[Unclear-1] with learners/teachers*
and I am their teacher/leader.*"

U-1: "..ar..s": shares/guards/swarms?
[ * ] Unlike most title text, the "learners" and "teachers" in the first and third lines are both presented as the correct translation. Similarly "teacher" and "leader" in the last line.
"I am so sorry." "[Unclear-1]"..."sorrow"
U-1: "w...re" we are?
"When we discovered the sea was [Unclear-1]
under the bank we tried to shore it up.
We failed.
We tried to remove everybody from the basin,
but we did not know of your tribe."

U-1: "s...ing": seeping? U-2: "...ea": sea? area?
"As the water flows, it widens the breach.
The berm is giving way.
The sea will rush through in a [Unclear-1] torrent.
The planet's mightiest river will once again
come thundering down the mountainside.
The sea will fill
not in years
but in days."


U-1: "g...": giant? great? gushing?
"The journey to your land is much too long.
[Unclear-1] not send [Unclear-2] only to see them
encircled and drowned by the rising tide."

U-1: "...l": I'll? I will?
U-2: "...s": Friends?
"The world you knew is ending
but fortune has delivered
you from the flood.
You did not intend to leave your home forever
but be thankful you left when you did."

"You must say your goodbyes from here.
You cannot go back down into the abyss.
For you have walked too far
and now there is no more time to walk.
The ocean is coming."