In any language, spam is spam. But with Google Translate, it’s poetry!

I don’t get a lot of spam comments on this blog. WordPress is pretty good at filtering them out. Judging by the available stats, they deflect somewhere between 50 and 250 spam comment posts for me, per day.

Still, a rare few slip through…for every 400 or so posts that they block, one is clever enough to get past the filter. And for every 10,000, there’s that one that’s just some crazy kind of genius in it’s own right.

This week, the following slipped through. The original was in Polish. On a lark, I ran it through Google Translate, with this result. I’ve only changed one word of the original, to excise the URL of the offending spammer (my substitution resulted in the bewildering “March home’s macaw”):

kronprinz, with enticing visuals kitchen. washed heritage.
That sense is not a knight. kitchen interior designs – March home’s macaw – These just military, put
prince’s armed mercenary can. He is not young.

Do not have a legitimate prince, was killed somewhere, knows the underside of the shoe drunk hauler.

outstanding person threw a wooden figure on the fire, which
the edges were burned naa borough.
Niie has at the moment the prince.
Thin wings covered with mud knocks burka trunk.

Most of that is trash. But there is some beauty to it. Thin wings covered with mud? That’s a nice line.

Surely I’m not the first to have stumbled on “the Google Translate nonsense poetry generator?” This might become a source of great amusement for me in the future.

At least I’ll always be honest with you, dear reader. When it comes to enticing visuals kitchen, I know the underside of shoe drunk hauler. Damn straight!

= = = =

As I was preparing this post for publication, NPR ran this piece about a program that uses predictive logic to suggest the wording of new “Shakespearean” sonnets. Despite the optimistic assertions of the programmer (and the hosts) about the future of computer generated poetry, I invite you to carefully study the six or seven sample lines that are embedded in the story. I don’t consider myself a poetry expert (I’ve studied it a bit, and even once did a Frost Place residency), but it seems to me that “Robo Bard” has succeeded only in formulating verse that sounds perfectly Shakespearean, because of the vocabulary and meter, but which in at least half the cases doesn’t actually make sense:

“the daytime shadow of my love betrayed lends hideous night to dreaming’s faded form” ?
“for no tears be true until we truly see” ?

I’m afraid phrases like that are no better than Google Translate’s efforts. And not nearly as entertaining!


About thebettereditor

Chris holds a BA degree in history from the University of Virginia and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree in writing from the University of Southern Maine (Stonecoast). He has worked extensively with professional and semi-professional writers and enthusiastic amateurs for about 20 years. He has several years experience in scientific publishing, but has also worked in information technology, insurance, health care, and education (he taught writing at the university level for a number of years). Since 2011, he's also specialized in helping small business meet their writing and editing needs on a budget.
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