Google Translate Won't "Leave Me Alone"?

So Dieter wrote up a review of Google Translate's shiny new, iPhone optimized WebApp, and it intrigued me enough to check it out. Since I live in Montreal, French was the first language I decided to try out. Since I'm damaged and have issues that would make Lucy jack her price up to 50 cents, the very first thing I tried to translate was: "leave me alone."

And what did Google Translate's WebApp say "leave me alone" was in French? "leave me alone". Oui-mais-wha?

Curious, I went from MobileSafari to desktop Safari, and what did tell me? "leave me alone". German didn't work either. Spanish and Dutch, however, did.

Kicker: "me dejen solo" from Spanish to French? You guessed it! "leave me alone".

Well, if I ever get pounced on by our local language police, I can always try to tell them Google says "leave me alone" is perfectly acceptable French!

(For the record, Yahoo! Babel Fish actually offers a translation, if somewhat formally: "laissez-moi seul")

Is this a known bug? I silent plea for help from an overworked Googler? A strange Babylonian plot? Or just one of many glitches in the system?

Have you run into any crazy Google mistranslations?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Google Translate Won't "Leave Me Alone"?


I've come across glitches like that too. I once needed to translate the sentence " you can spend some time on the beach with a pina colada..." for a travel article. I double check translations by re-translating any given result to English, so imagine my surprise when the re-translation showed me that Google translated my sentence into Spanish as "you can relax with a grenade on the sand"...????

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