Language is a complex tool, and if you’ve ever gone through the process of learning another, you’ll be well aware of the pitfalls of machine translation.
Convenient for occasionally translating a few words, automated translations often ignore critical syntax, phrase things improperly, or fail at constructing sentences.
We’ve all seen examples of unfortunate, if not outright embarrassing, translation: now you can make your own and believe us when we say the results can be ludicrous. Ackuna’s Bad Translator manages to highlight every pitfall of online translation, running text through up to forty-three languages on a variety of sites before bringing the final text back to English.
Though the site has a tight limit of 250 characters, it proves more than enough to have some fun. The end result is typically as funny as it is bizarre, with the entry often hopelessly incorrect or bearing no indication of its original content.
Based on some of the results these sites can return, it appears machine translation has a particular issue with languages that have differing alphabets. In this case, non-Latin characters wreak havoc on translation. This is likely for reasons other than the alphabet, though it is an easy point from which to make this assumption.
Running your text through forty-three languages, understandably takes a few minutes, but the end result is generally outstanding. For example, with the language order randomised, we were able to get this:
Our original text was part of the opening to Orwell’s “1984,” adapted to fit the character limits. As you can see, the opening line, perhaps one of the most famous ever, is now unrecognisable.
We’re sure that you’ll have fun with pushing online translation to its very limits – just don’t expect accurate translation! Let us know your funniest results in the comments!
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