Mayfairy Tales, Quizzes, Rants and Whimsy

Quiz: Google Translate vs Fairy Tales

September 25, 2017

Quiz: Google Translate vs Fairy Tales

I probably use Google Translate more than I should. It’s one of those things that’s useful if you’re trying to figure out what your foreign language speaking friends are going on about on social media, but probably shouldn’t be used for anything serious. In fact, if you’ve ever attempted to learn another language and have had face to face dealings with a language teacher you’ve probably been put in a brutal headlock and held until almost the point of passing out until you begrudgingly agreed never to use Google Translate. Maybe that isn’t “standard practice” but in my experience language teachers do have a special kind of eye roll reserved just for Google Translate.

Well, it has improved quite markedly as a translation tool over the years. Still not perfect, but it has been helping people get far more than their daily recommended dietary requirement of gist.

For example, here’s a short paragraph explaining the plot of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:

A young princess is sentenced to death by her jealous step mother. She escapes by running into the forest and living with seven dwarfs who work in the nearby mines. When the stepmother finds her whereabouts she poisons her with an apple. The apple catches in her throat and renders the princess unconscious until a passing prince is able to resuscitate her.

If we put that into Google Translate and turn it into French, then back into English we end up with:

A young princess is condemned to death by her beautiful jealous mother. She escapes running into the forest and living with seven dwarfs working in the neighboring mines. When the mother-in-law finds her way, she poisons her with an apple. The apple catches in her throat and makes the princess unconscious until a passing prince can resurrect her.

As you can see, it’s by no means perfect, but you still get a good idea of what we’re talking about and can easily identify it as the plot of Snow White.

If we try something slightly trickier and go English, Chinese, Russian, Arabic and then back to English we get:

The young princess sentenced to death her jealous mother. She entered the forest and ran out of seven statues working in nearby mines. When the father finds her whereabouts, she uses herbs to poison her. Apple grabbed her by the throat and made the Princess unconscious until the passer-by could revive her.

You can see we’re moving further and further away from what we started with. So, what if we did this ten times over? That would be mad.

Surprise! I’m mad. I wrote out the plots to a bunch of fairy tales and translated them ten times over into various languages. They I made a sweet quiz for you guys to play. Can you identify which fairy tale plots these nonsense paragraphs started out as?

Go on, take the quiz.

Just take the button and risk five minutes of your life that you’ll never get back. You weren’t going to do anything good with those five minutes anyway.


Credit for fairy tale graphic: Designed by Freepik

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