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Literary Fun With Google Translate, Part 2

Let’s have a little fun with Google Translate again.

We tried this a few months ago with mild success, so I thought I’d give it another go.

Basically, I just take famous passages from literature, then kick them through a gauntlet of 5 to 10 languages and spit them back out in English. Then we see what we’ve got.

Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s weird. Sometimes it’s fairly similar to the original.

And off we go:

From Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury:

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”

Translate from: English–>Bulgarian–>Latin–>Arabic–>German–>Japanese–>English. And you’ll get this:

“But fuck this will please the eye that it is the truth , if it it was 10 seconds, and live in the autumn . Please look at the world . This is he , is the dream took place in industrial enterprises , or they pay for the paternal.”

Well there went the PG rating. I don’t think I’ve ever had the F Bomb on my blog, so WTF is up with that translation?

Here’s the famous line from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, which appears 106 times.

 “So it goes…”

Send that through English–>French–>Slovak–>Haitian–>Punjabi–>Vietnamese–>Serbian–>English. And you get:

“For him.”

And that was a bit anticlimactic.

Here’s a good one. A famous passage from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

English–>Dutch–>Korean–>Malay–>Polish–>Lithuanian–>Turkish–>English

“Do you have a hair on your head . You have your foot in the shoe . You can fly in any direction you choose. You are your own. And you know . I decided to go somewhere.”

Amazingly, that one’s pretty similar.

Here’s a classic line from To Kill A Mockingbird:

“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

English–>Georgian–>Afrikaans–>Norwegian–>Filipino–>Russian–>English.

“Reach all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit him, but remember that etogrehuvlekatelny murder.”

Etogrehuvlekatelny murders are the absolute worst animal murders. PETA is going to be pissed.

How about some Beowulf?

“Hand to hand is how it will be, a life and death fight against the fiend, and he whom death bears off shall submit to the judgement of the Lord.”

English–>Bengali–>Belarusian–>Danish–>Kannada–>Hindi–>Persian–>English

“Hand in hand, it’s a life and death struggle against apostates, and the death of God, in the Court, it wears.”

Just doesn’t have the same ring to it, huh?

Last, let’s check out a passage from Gatsby:

“There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”

I sent this one through English twice.

English–>Basque–>Greek–>Traditional Chinese–>Hungarian–>Irish–>Somali–>English–>Icelandic–>Macedonian–>Swedish–>English

“This is the neighbor house in summer music. Gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the Son whispering and the champagne and the stars.”

All the words are there, but yeah that just doesn’t make sense.

Overall, I think Google Translate did pretty good this time. Other than the fact it gets all vulgar with Fahrenheit 51 and mentions those terrible etogrehuvlekatelny murders.

Until next time!

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14 Comments Post a comment
  1. My secret technique for transcribing my “future language which was derived heavily from Chinese with a thousand years of drift” is to translate to Simplified Chinese and then sit there and phonetically spell out what I hear when I ask Translate to speak the Chinese characters.

    I have no idea what horrors a real Chinese speaker would come up with if they tried to understand what I was saying. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2014
  2. In Gatsby, maybe the houses are playing the music.

    Like

    November 21, 2014
  3. Google Translate has actually gotten too good for this game to be as much fun as it used to be. I once decided to write a song in German, and, having to knowledge of the German language, I had to use Alta Vista Babelfish to translate. The results, even to one language (and a fairly similar language, at that ) and back to English, were sometimes hilarious. The fact that Mockingbird finally came back as something untranslatable is pretty funny, as is the inexplicable profanity in the Bradbury quotation’s translation. Developing a fictional future language using this tool is something that would have never occurred to me. Thanks, Tharcion! – Kirt

    Like

    November 21, 2014
  4. I put “To be or not to be, that is the question” through half a dozen languages and it came back as “Like it or not, this is not a problem.”

    Liked by 1 person

    November 21, 2014
  5. I’ll have to try this out for myself. ‘etogrehuvlekatelny’ is a truly bizarre word.

    Like

    November 21, 2014
    • Mockingbird just doesn’t translate I guess.

      Like

      November 24, 2014
  6. I don’t know how I’m going to incorporate this in class, but I want to do this haha! Thanks for this! 😀

    Like

    November 23, 2014
  7. Rebeca Briceño #

    what a fun game!! I have to try it!!!

    Like

    November 23, 2014
  8. martinatumblr #

    well, at least we learnt something. never kill a Etogrehuvlekatelny.

    Like

    November 24, 2014
  9. I love the fact Dr Seuss’s was almost exactly the same!

    Like

    November 25, 2014
  10. Awesome blog.. please keep blogging!!

    Like

    November 29, 2014

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