THE EXPERIMENT

Using the Alta Vista Babel Fish translation software, I translated a well-known passage from Hamlet into a number of different languages, then translated those translations back into English using the same software. The results were surprisingly good. The most bizarre translation result was the one from English to Korean to English. The best of them was probably the English to Spanish to English.

The Original Passage

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rims at it.

From English to Spanish to English

Wings, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: to fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: there am hath tip me on his back to thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rims AT it.

From English to Chinese to English

Alas, bad Yorick! I know him, Horatio: The infinite jest fellow, most is outstanding fancy: His hath is born me in his behind 1000; And the now, how is abhorred in mine imagination it! My gorge outflow boundary Yu Ta.

From English to French to English

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew it, Horatio: a comrade of infinite joke, majority of excellent imagination: it hath born me on his back thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My RIM of throat to him.

From English to German to English

Alas, bad Yorick! I could do it, Horatio: a companion of the endless Jest, most excellent fantasy: it hath me born on its rear side a thousand times; and now, how in my fantasy abhorred, it is! **time-out** my gorgekanten to it.

From English to Korean to English

The Alas, the Yorick which is poor! I will be wrong, the Horatio it knew,: Colleague of Wuhan one jest of most big rainwater one idle fancy,: In that him in me width after hath thousand times; And inside my imagining the abhorred it peels and as now, is it,! To it my gorge rim.