The Painful Downsizing of her Sound: Google Translate is a Deep Poetry Machine

1 Feb

This morning Jon decided to put a snippet of writing into Google Translate. First he translated the original from English to Japanese, and then he translated the result back to English. We soon discovered that Google Translate is a hilarious Deep Poetry Machine.

We highly recommend 3-4 cycles between Japanese and English; Russian did nothing for us, and switching up languages each cycle seemed to dissolve the sentences down to a cluster of key words. As an example, please observe the sweet monstrosity* that follows.

The original work, taken from an old notebook of Jon’s:

This girl walks in. She hardly makes a sound. This isn’t surprising due to her small size, but somehow you get the feeling she is painfully aware of every sound she makes. Like one little creak or shuffle on the floor will send the whole room raging at her. She walks like one who wishes to be invisible.

Translated to Japanese and then back to English once:

She was a little girl walks into the sound. This I feel as if aware of all the constituent sounds painful she can not.  She do something remarkable for her small size. One, a little shuffle on the floor creak, and I will send her the room angry. She wants to walk like invisible.

The above, translated to Japanese and back to English again:

Walked to the sound of her little girl.  It recognizes all of the ingredients she can feel, as if the sound can be noted the small size of her pain. One on the floor, shuffle a little squeaky, but I sent her room in anger. She wants to walk like invisible.

And again, (I like this one best):

I walked to the sound of her little girl. It recognizes all of the ingredients which she can feel, as if you can point out the painful downsizing of her sound. One on the floor, the creaking little shuffle, I sent her room in anger. She wants to walk like invisible.

*For easy reading, I’ve added commas to a few translations.

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6 Responses to “The Painful Downsizing of her Sound: Google Translate is a Deep Poetry Machine”

  1. Renata February 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    oh so awesome. I remember doing this while in school to pass the time, the Japanese sound so nostalgic!

    • C. March 29, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

      Translations in other languages really didn’t compare to the Japanese versions.

      I bet if I typed in ‘Candice had to take a dump’ it would translate to ‘She walked like one who carries a burden of urgent gravity’.

  2. HannahFergesen February 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

    That last one is pretty awesome!

    • C. March 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

      It’s definitely my favourite!

  3. paorta February 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Cool. Here’s the same original in the Oulipo n+7 generator, which is also a great way to make deep poetry out of snippets of text:

    This glance walks in. She hardly makes a southerner. This isn’t surprising due to her small sketch, but somehow you get the felon she is painfully aware of every southerner she makes. Like one little creak or sibling on the flotation will send the whole rosary raging at her. She walks like one who witnesses to be invisible.

    (http://www.spoonbill.org/n+7/)

    • C. March 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm #

      ‘She walks like one who witnesses to be invisible’

      That has to be the best translation of the bunch!

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