Posted in English

FLiPping Heck

I’ve been repeating a lot of silly errors lately, often just typos that don’t get caught by my usual method: pasting my Portuguese texts into Google Translate to see if it can correctly translate them back into English. Google Translate is quite forgiving of “gralhas” (typos) so if you wrote “ni” instead of “no” because you are a medieval Knight and that’s your favourite word and autocorrect has changed it for you, Google Translate will probably correctly guess what you meant, and the error will slip through.

The Knights Who Say Ni
Found on someone’s Pinterest. No idea who owns it. Too good not to use.

One of the correctors on the subreddit suggested I incorporate FLiP into my routine. It’s a spelling and syntax validator. I’ve had a play and concluded it definitely has its uses. It has a pretty big gotcha though. In fact, I thought it was wrong about a couple of AO spellings. It prompted me to change the spelling of Ótimo to the older Óptimo, for example. Well, I like the old version so I’m not too bothered, but it’s the wrong advice.

When it did the same with the word “corre(c)ção” I really started giving it side-eye. Considering corre(c)ções are its raison d’etre, that would be a pretty big error. It turned out there was a good reason though. Can you spot my mistake?

Yeah, it defaults to the old spellings and i hadn’t noticed there was a box to tick right there at the top that makes it use the newer ones. So make sure you remember that!

Like any computer program, it’s not immune to errors though. Today’s text includes the phrase “os capítulos que se seguem” (“the following chapters”). Computer said no, advising me to say “the chapters that blind themselves” instead.

Still though, like most online tools, it has its uses. It’s probably best to treat it like a GPS navigation system: follow its directions most of the time but not when it’s telling you to drive off a pier into the sea to get to Calais.

Posted in English


One of my pet theories is that every tech company has a guy somewhere in the organisation whose job title is “visionary architect of making everything slightly worse”. He (and I’m sorry to be one of those dudes who disses other dudes to ingratiate himself to his female readers, but yes, I’m sure he’s a he) is the one behind all those little changes to apps that make them look sleeker but leave the user frustrated and annoyed because they are harder to use. Anyway, the guy who holds that role at google translate has obviously been busy because its latest incarnation is hugely irritating. Well done, mate.

It remains quite useful though. I’ve just written a text about street food and I mentioned a disposable glove. As usual, when I finished, I pasted it into gtranslate to see what it thought I’d said. It translated it as “available glove” because I’d used a false friend: Disponível. The word is obviously related to disposable but it means available. It’s easy to see the link. If you’ve ever heard anyone say “I’m at your disposal”, the person wasn’t asking to be thrown in the bin, they were saying they were available to help. So the meanings must have drifted apart relatively recently but it’s worth knowing the difference.

What should I gave said? Descartável. That’s easy too. You can discard them.

E depois, queres um pastel de nata?