Google Translate as a Broken Telephone

Another delightful pastime is overtransforming an information artifact through digital algorithms—useful, if used sparingly—until it turns into something quite strange. For instance, you can use one of the online machine-translation services to translate a phrase through a ring of languages back to the original and see what you get. The sentence “The edge of knowledge motivates intriguing online discussions” transforms into “Online discussions in order to stimulate an attractive national knowledge” in four steps on Google’s current translator (English→German→Hebrew→Simplified Chinese→English). We find this sort of thing funny, just like children playing “Telephone”—as well we should, because it sparks our recollection that our brains have unrealistic expectations of information transformation.


Jaron Lanier describes a game you can play with google translate, transforming a sentence through a variety of languages back to its original to see what is produced.

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 This Will Make You Smarter
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Brockman , John (2012-02-14), This Will Make You Smarter, HarperCollins, Retrieved on 2013-12-19
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: science


    09 JUL 2013

     Educational Projects for Waygate

    A collection of projects and exercises that will eventually go into the Waygate education application that uses gamification to encourage children to learn.