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 translate.google.com 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?

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

3 Comments
  • 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"...????
  • Try also "Rage Against the machine"
  • The holy passion of friendship is so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring in nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.