“10 Poems Ruthlessly Mangled by Google Translate,” a Good Ebook

July 9, 2013 | Andy Cush

There’s rich artistic territory to be mined in the fuck-ups of internet things. Anyone who’s watched a music video in the past few years knows that datamoshing can be beautiful, facial recognition technology finds portraits in images of mountains and deserts, and one of the most endlessly engaging, beguiling sites on the web simply introduces lexical glitches to your writing using translation software.

To that last point, here’s “10 Poems Ruthlessly Mangled by Google Translate,” aka “10 POEMS  mercilessly destroyed the GOOGLE TRANSLATE, aka, “10 Poems Mercilessly Destroyed GOOGLE MIRROR,” aka “10:00 Ruthless Destruction Google Mirror,” an ebook by Ari Eckols, the artist probably known to you as @orangejuice_inc, which features, yes, ten original poems, ruthlessly mangled by Google Translate.

Each page of the ebook (which is free, by the way, and you can get it here) features four panels: the original poem, and three consecutive iterations of a process that translates the poem into another language, then back into English. It makes for an poignant, frequently hilarious read.

My favorite pre-translation poem:

the universe ceases to exist
outside of the text on
we live our lives peacefully
as articles of text
we are not notable enough
in which case
we are forgotten forever

And my favorite post-translation (not the same poem):

I can not wait to stand
Glass skyscrapers
And observations
Electrical interference
I can not wait to shake
Farewell, my son Mirror
You move to holoschool
All numbers in the morning
Do not expect to buy
In the 24th century

Go download the thing now.