Good Poetry from the Bad Translator

I’ve been playing with the bad translator. While it’s a fun tool in it’s own right, I’ve noticed that when I put in a serious attempt at writing, what comes out is often more poetic and evocative than what I put in. For example my slightly evocative Facebook status about how much I miss the train in Cameroon gets translated into the much more evocative:

Remember how he wanted to sleep
deep in the forest?
Only obligations also increased
and awaken amid the green
where men in long dresses saw rooms in the form of caps.
I could not sleep for senior officials and calls for honey.

What beautiful things can you get out of it? I think minor modifications for the sake of poetry should be okay.

Here is another little poem that Bad Translator created out of a story about a nice weekend. I think it’s kind of beautiful, and kind of sums up the weekend better than my original statements!

Tell me what is good.
What’s new for me?
I want more life.
I am very old, very new, very afraid.
My clothes…
my heart beats faster…
Wear my heart, I want my soul.
This weekend, my God!

Genitals certainly are good, aren’t they?

I grabbed this chunk of academic density from a mass transit discussion:

…10 translations later we get:

Intervening languages: Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Belarusian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese three times (Standard, Simplified, and Traditional), Croation.

That’s just funny, though. Running it through all 54 translators it what gets you the poetry (and heapin’ helpin’ o’ WTF?):

Rearrange that…

Miller, president
and currently the most successful
of the two world wars,
the British army,
1500 2 miljoner
my family.

OK, so the Bad Translator is also somewhat psychic! I put in the phrase, “I love him so much I can’t even think straight!” After running it through the max number of translations, what came back was “I do not believe me!” Odd, no?

It’s amazing how

turns into

I can see myself playing with this for a while.

And this classic line from Alan Moore:


Strangely deep, no?

My favorite anonymism, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you”, becomes “Crazy just because they disagree” 25 steps later, and simply “Crazy, I disagree” after 55.

EDIT: My brother suggested “Tis only a flesh wound”, which after 54 rounds became the simple “I do.”

My son, my father
He said his son, when he shows the speed
of the Messiah
This means that the draft
can be hell
Touzaburakkuparedo Days of Summer

And a completely different song:

“When the earnings.”

[spoiler]Original text:

“there’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold and she’s buying a stairway to heaven”

*Load up on guns and bring your friends It’s fun to lose and to pretend She’s over-bored and self-assured Oh no, I know a dirty word Hello, hello, hello, how low?
…25 translations later we get:

“Wood and shot his friend is a big loss, dry, oh, I’m a dirty word. Hello, hello, hello, how do you know?”

and naturally it follows that:

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous Here we are now, entertain us I feel stupid and contagious Here we are now, entertain us A mulatto, an albino A mosquito, my libido Yeah, hey, yay

…25 translations later we get:

“Light is less dangerous, it’s fun, it is contagious, you fool each other and talk to white fly larvae”

“Maybe there’s a God above and all I ever learned from love was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.”

…25 translations later we get:

“We have learned to love God, to disarmament.”

Not sure that’s what Mr. Cohen was going for…

The first verse of “High Flight”…

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things

becomes, 25 translations later:

“Oh, my calculator in hand, the heavens and the earth’s total, laugh, dance, Silver Convention-day classic in the number of new units - and article”

This was a game in Philip K. Dick’s 1969 novel Galactic Pot-Healer.

A silly little poem I wrote in high school becomes:

It almost sounds as if it could mean something. But what does it do to actual poetry? The first stanza of Poe’s Israfel becomes:

Hm. Surely not as pretty. What does it do to Dylan Thomas, specifically the first stanza of Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night?

Well, it tried.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

…54 translations later we get:

“Attracted 4.7, our goal is to create a new type of bottom and Africa.”
Pulling a phrase from my e-mail:
" It’s easy to check your dividend balance online - all you need is your REI member number. "

…54 translations later we get:

“G. Price updated the status of each constituent teuharyeomyeoneybogi”

We are a family.
In the meantime, break and collapse,
so we treat each other?
Each item in a different light.
How’d you lose good for us?
Dispersion and confusion.
What are we to maintain this achievement

A lot of people say stairway to heaven has cluck lyrics, so I wanted to see if it could improve them.
"There’s a lady whose sure all that glitters is gold And she’s buying a stairway to heaven. When she gets there, she knows if the stores are all closed With a word she can get what she came for. Ooh, ooh, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven. "

“All that glitters is gold can be purchased in the sky. If you know all the shops are closed, so maybe not. Oh, you can buy sky.”

From the beginning of Hamlet’s To Be or Not To Be:

Whether or not that is the question: If a high frame Tess insult and wealth arrow or maritime affairs and the opposition denounced weapons. Death is not a dream.

Original text:

I wrote this little prose off the top of my head:

"How many pickles do you want on your sandwich. The best pickle has a satisfying crunch to it, and a slight vinegary aftertaste. It’s like sex in a slice. Don’t you want a pickle? "

…54 translations later we get:

“Bread and salt.
Small issues of peace, and Urgency.
In the same way sex.
Why do little to change this?”

Why do little indeed.