Fun with Google Translate



Google Translate is actually pretty handy as an informal tool.

There have been times where I have wanted to have at least a partial understanding of something that I read in another language online, and Google Translate has helped me with that.

I’m also a little rusty with French, and Google Translate has helped to fill in some of my gaps.

But if you wrote something and wanted to have a professional translation of your writing into another language, well, as you will see in this article, that could result in some interesting consequences.


What I will do is type a variety of expressions in English.

I will copy and paste these expressions into Google Translate, and have them translated into a different language.

Then I will have them translated back into English.

(Isn’t this what everybody does when they feel like having some fun?)


We will start with a simple opinion in English. (As a person’s opinion, it is informal, not proper grammar.)

I strongly prefer slacks over blue jeans on the golf course.

I copied and pasted the above text into Google Translate.

I had the text translated from English to Chinese (traditional).


Next I copied the Chinese text, deleted the original English text, and pasted the Chinese text into Google Translate.

I really like the blue jeans on the golf course.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the opposite of the original statement.

Let’s see if we can find some good sentences to translate.


Input. (Imagine a far too clichéd romance novel.)

Meet Chloe, a blond bombshell dressed to the nines.

Translated to Russian.

Познакомьтесь с Хлоей, белокурой бомбой, одетой в пух и прах.

Back to English.

Meet Chloe, a blonde bomb dressed in lint and dust.

(Hey, maybe the novel would be better this way…)


Input. (The awful, Vogon variety.) I put all of this into a single line of text (with spaces in place of the line breaks).

How did I get into this bad romance

He is so handsome but too psycho

How much I wish I could turn back time

And not ride on his motorcycle

Translated to Hindi.

मैं इस बुरे रोमांस में कैसे आया वह इतना सुंदर है, लेकिन बहुत ही मनोहर है कि मैं चाहता हूं कि मैं अपनी मोटरसाइकिल पर वापस समय बदल सकता हूं और नहीं

Back to English.

How did I come to this bad romance

is so beautiful, but very handsome

that I want to change my time

on my motorcycle and not

(It started out so well, too.)

You could imagine that song lyrics are even better.


Input. Imagine that we’re making a very simple children’s book for beginning readers.

See Jeff. See Amazon. See Jeff run Amazon.

Translated to Latin.

Jeff videre. Vide Amazon. Jeff videre current Amazon.

Back to English.

Jeff further. Know Amazon. Jeff further current Amazon.

It’s interesting what a difference the middleman makes. When I tried using Japanese, it came out almost perfectly.


I bought a bicycle for my daughter on Amazon last year.

It was difficult to find the right color in the right price range.

When I finally did, there were several 5-star reviews with names that seemed indicative of a certain language (I won’t say which).

But there were a few 1-star reviews claiming that the instructions were virtually impossible to read.

Well, I have a Ph.D. in physics, so I figured I could assemble a bicycle myself.

My family had a blast reading the instruction manual. I’ve never read anything so funny!

It’s like someone typed the instructions in another language (still not saying!) and used Google Translate to turn them into English.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that’s what actually happened.

Let me share a few goodies from these instructions. I took care to copy all of the typos correctly, including the punctuation issues.

  • By now, there should not any touching between bicycle and your body.
  • The leg–length of a rider should be at least 2.54cm.
  • As photo shows,put the stem into head tube,adjust proper depth,before tighten stem binder bolt(not less than 18N.m)adjust handlebar perpendicular to forward direction,then tighten four bolts on aluminum cap orderly
  • If adjust slightly loose the adjusting nut and bolt, then lock nut. If adjust largely, loose nut ( as pic ), the loose or fasten brake line, then fasten nut.
  • BBzxle adjustment: loosethe left lock nut of BB axle adjust the space between “stationary cone” and “bearing and retainer” to the smallest,the tighten the nut
  • Do not use this bicycle as a transport facilities.

I kid you not. (I wish I were.)

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

If Reading Were a Spectator Sport…

Just Read It

Imagine if reading were a big-time spectator sport like boxing or football:

  • Nerds would be the jocks.
  • The most popular slogan would be, “Just read it.”
  • Common advice would include, “Keep your eye on the text.”
  • Franchise teams would have names like the Chicago Verbs, Denver Hyphens, Los Angeles Chapters, Mississippi Twains, Dallas Texters, London Haiku, and Philadelphia Lyrical Wonders.
  • Fans would come to the big event shirtless and with words written across their chests and cheeks.
  • Every tail-gating party would feature poetry recitations.
  • The only injuries trainers would need to attend to would be eye soreness and backaches.
  • Close plays would be shown again in slow motion on Instant Readplay.
  • The umpire would shout, “Read Words,” at the beginning of every game.
  • The big game at the end of the season would be called the World Sentences.
  • Instead of people spending $100 to watch two guys beat their brains out for several minutes and 99 cents to read a book for many hours, thousands of spectators would pay hundreds of dollars to watch their favorite teams compete as readers for a few hours.
  • Participants would be called acathletes.
  • Acathletes would earn millions of dollars to show off their amazing reading skills.
  • Teens would dream of going on dates with the top acathletes.
  • Coaches would earn good money to teach valuable reading skills.
  • Publishers and bookstores would sponsor the teams, adding their logos to the jerseys.
  • Stores would sell expensive jerseys featuring authors, books, and acathletes.
  • At home people would watch the big event on giant e-reader screens.
  • Kids would spend their free time practicing their reading skills and would dream of becoming talented readers when they grow up.
  • People would think, “We sure have come a long way since the day of the gladiator.”

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen

Educators have permission to freely copy part or all of this list entitled “If Reading Were a Spectator Sport…” for non-commercial purposes in order to help promote the spirit of reading.

Dis-a-vowel-ed (A Simple Word Puzzle)

I have a little puzzle for you. Don’t worry, it’s easy. You can figure it out. 🙂

See if you can figure out what the following puzzle says. It’s in English! Really, it is! Following the puzzle is a hint. If you need help, read the hint (but not the answer). When you want to check that you’ve solved the puzzle correctly, then you can check the answer.


O cen nut omegoni why yua moght nut bi ebli tu andirstend thos!

Ell yua hevi tu du os ripleci iech vuwil woth thi vuwil thet pricidis ot, whiri thi littir ‘a’ pricidis thi littir ‘e’ (will, nut qaoti, bat thet os thi ginirel odie).

Hevi yua gut ot fogarid uat yit?

Thos os yuar lest chenci.


If you didn’t mean to read this far yet, you better lift your eyes in a hurry!

Ready or not, here comes the hint: Try reading it aloud and you might recognize some of the words. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider the title of this post, too. 🙂


Here comes the solution. So if you don’t want to read it yet, look up fast. All of the consonants are correct. The vowels are correctly positioned, but each vowel has been changed. More precisely, each vowel was replaced with the vowel that follows it. For example, ‘a’ was replaced with ‘e,’ ‘e’ was replaced with ‘i,’ and so on; also, the ‘u’ was replaced with ‘a.’

For example, the word ‘idea’ becomes ‘odie.’ Note that one sentence from the puzzle has a phrase that reads, “where the letter ‘u’ precedes the letter ‘a,’” in which the ‘u’ changed to ‘a’ and the ‘a’ changed to ‘e.’

I thought about changing the ‘u’ to a ‘y’ and the ‘y’ to an ‘a,’ but only when the ‘y’ makes the vowel sound, but I decided to keep things simple. 🙂

If you had to read the solution to figure out how to solve the puzzle, it isn’t too late to see if you can now translate the puzzle text.


Following is the translation of the puzzle text using the technique described in the solution. Don’t read the following text unless you are ready to check your answer.

I can not imagine why you might not be able to understand this!

All you have to do is replace each vowel with the vowel that precedes it, where the letter ‘u’ precedes the letter ‘a’ (well, not quite, but that is the general idea).

Have you got it figured out yet?

This is your last chance.

Lost! One Hour — Please Return! $$ Reward!

Missing: One Hour

Description: 60 minutes, 3600 seconds, 1/24 day, looks a little shorter while having fun and a little longer when bored

Last seen: 2 a.m. Sunday morning, March 10, 2013

If seen, please contact the owner.

$$ REWARD $$