The groom was Austrian and the bride Japanese; the guests either understood German only, Japanese only, English only, or any combination of the above. The plan was to have the government official speak a sentence or two in German, then the groom's witness (Christoph) would say that line in English, then the bride's witness (my wife) would say it in Japanese. The official planned ahead and made his speech pleasantly short.

The night before the ceremony, at approximately 8 PM, Christoph came over to our hotel with his translation. We naively thought that we would simply take his translation and whip out a Japanese version. Turns out he used Bablefish to make rough draft and wanted our help to polish it up. Some parts were easy, some difficult - especially when it came to a pun. We did the best we could, taking some liberties and using our own colloquilisms. It would have been hysterical, yet useless, to have used the straight Babelfish translation. :) It took over 2 hours to iron something out.

It worked quite well actually, especially when my wife got tired at the end and shortened the congratulations and thanks to "arigato gozaimashita." A good laugh was had by all.