The worst translation of all time. All time.

It was about four months ago that I first noted how poorly Bing translates Facebook statuses. Since that time, I’ve been slowly collecting my favorites for an eventual compilation of some sort. This is not that post – my sample size is still pretty small, and I often forget to record examples even when I spot them – but in the meantime, I’ll skip ahead and share what has to be a) the worst offender I’ve come across yet, and b) mindbogglingly unique in my inability to begin to possibly think about starting to comprehend how this was allowed to happen.

You don’t need to know any Hebrew, or read farther than the very first line in English and then Hebrew, to decode this debacle:

Twenty-two points to whoever can explain how this happened. All 13 of them will definitely come in handy.


This in no way affects my desire for a Windows Phone


18 thoughts on “The worst translation of all time. All time.”

  1. Your images aren’t coming through, but I saw a bracha the other day that was translated very poorly (although it was a hilarious translation).

    I alerted my co-workers at the Bing translation team and they said that they fixed it. Hopefully this will get them to improve the translator.

    If you can share the phrases that were mistranslated I’d be happy to send them on via our internal channels.


  2. Presumably the phrases “channel 13” and “arutz 22” were used in similar contexts in the database Bing uses.

    In all fairness, though, there are two serious grammatical mistakes in the Hebrew, which makes the translator’s difficulties easier to understand.


      1. You’ve got to explain that last point… numerals in Arabic actually look different than in (most) other languages.


      2. Yes I know that 🙂 But the actual representation of them is different, so your joke missed it’s point!
        If there is one (* of few) language you can say “22” is not in, it is Arabic. Even if the numeral system “22” came from India/Persia then to Arabs.


  3. I agree with Shlomo. There are numerous factors here:
    1. Poor Hebrew (grammar and spelling mistakes)
    2. Use of names. In Hebrew, unlike English, most names have meanings, so obviously an automated translation, if the original text didn’t use quotation marks, won’t get them right in most cases.
    3. Context, what makes automatic machine translations so great is that you can create them for a language very fast and for a fraction of the cost of traditional translations. So yeah, probably channel 22 and channel 13 (in English) had similar context.

    Seeing as no one would pay to create an English-Hebrew translator built (have you seen Xbox in Hebrew? Most Androids? etc) due to the high cost/market size ratio, it is better IMHO to have an “OK” translator than none at all.


  4. thanks j-lo for supporting eugenics you sick sick person,maybe you or your baby will have some aweful side effects,i will spread the word,the opposite word you have.DONT EVER GET VACCINES,NEVER EVER EVER.


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