Sunday, January 3, 2021

Tiktok's automatic translator transforms nonsense syllables into disturbing phrases

Here's a 2018 article from Vice, when Google Translate was observed doing something similar:
Type the word “dog” into Google Translate 19 times, request that the nonsensical message be flipped from Maori into English, and out pops what appears to be a garbled religious prophecy.

“Doomsday Clock is three minutes at twelve,” it reads. “We are experiencing characters and a dramatic developments in the world, which indicate that we are increasingly approaching the end times and Jesus' return.”


a senior scientist at BBN Technologies who works on machine translation, agreed that strange outputs are probably due to Google Translate’s algorithm looking for order in chaos. He also pointed out that the languages that generate the strangest results—Somali, Hawaiian and Maori—have smaller bodies of translated text than more widely spoken languages like English or Chinese. As a result, he said, it’s possible that Google used religious texts like the Bible, which has been translated into many languages, to train its model in those languages, resulting in the religious content.