Google Translate’s Strange Responses


Welcome to day four of The Nightmarathon Before Christmas. A couple of quick things before we get started: I just wanted to let you guys know that I created all of the videos this week completely out of order, and today’s upload was originally going to be live-action ghost-hunting. However, some things got in the way, and unfortunately, it fell through. Tomorrow’s upload was made incredibly early, and at the end of it, you’ll hear me mention how we “went ghost-hunting”. Obviously, this videos in its place, and we did not go ghost-hunting, so ignore that. Also, I’m sick, so if I sound weird, I apologize. But nonetheless, I’ve stumbled upon something more interesting than ghost-hunting would have ever been, and I’m excited to jump into today’s topic, which is the Translategate Mystery. Translategate is the name of a strange revelation found by users on 4chan, regarding hidden messages found within Google Translate. I had originally stumbled upon this strange phenomenon through a video created by a Youtuber named Elder’s Vault. I reached out to him, and… I’ll just let him fill you in with some background real fast. Elder’s Vault: Hey, what’s going on you crazy kitty cats? It’s Elder here, and let me just first say thanks so much for letting me come on and talk about some of the stuff that we found. This all started with the conspiracy on the paranormal board of 4chan, and really, it’s quite simple. You type broken letters, or words, in this Somali Google Translate, you get some very strange fragmented responses. Me and a good friend of mine, Deathly Logic, were interested in piecing together text that was coming out of the output of the Google Translate app, and we quickly realized this spread further than one isolated text. We started piecing together names, private email conversations, dating profiles, and fragmented Facebook links from all sorts of context, and sometimes completely different languages, such as Russian. When you add this with the fact that users were questioning Google Translate, while using fragmented input questions, we knew after receiving eerily correct responses. This is not only a potential breach of privacy, but something that might be a larger issue than we originally thought. Nightmare Expo: After playing with it, myself and various others who have tried this have gained some interesting results. As Elder said, there were strings of text resembling what appears to be private email conversations, dating profiles, and even Facebook links. However, there’s also what seems like a strange and ominous way to communicate with an artificial intelligence. It appears that if you put anything, ANYTHING in the translation field while it’s broken up into 1-3 letter chunks, you’ll get what appears to be a logical response. For instance, I asked the translator: “Is th is a ba ck do or to ta lk to you?”, and it responded with: “Is this a good idea to do you?” Now, the word “do” is thrown in there kind of randomly, but you get the overall message. One 4chan user simply typed “google” a bunch of times, broken up into parts, of course, to which it responded with: “Go and find a place like this. Find out and know what’s going on.” This phenomenon seems to be inconsistent as well, with multiple “responses” coming from the same translation. There were tons of other questions that were asked as well throughout this thread, and I’ll leave a link below for you to go and check some of them out. Now, with all of this, what in the hell could this mean? How would messages, emails, full names, and entire links come about from randomized input? After doing some digging on Google Translate, I came to find that they use “adaptive machine learning” for their translations, and the bot is constantly being improved through neural networks. This ties into this first theory that was made, in which I will call “The Data Theory”. It seems that possibly, possibly, the system was picking up text from various websites and Google services. One notable site that Elder pointed out in his video was a comment hosting service called DISQUS. He claimed that possibly, Google Translate was pulling strings of text from the comments that may have been made over time, since Google has such an enormous log of information on users, through decades of data collection. With this comes a sense of personal exposure, since millions of comments have been posted through the service, to date, that may also include private or sensitive information. It really doesn’t stop there, though. Google has its own version of nearly everything under the sun, from word processing, to cloud storage, to email services, to video hosting, you name it. This information could be coming from any of those, and it’s a serious problem. Another hypothesis that users have made is a bit of a stretch, but it’s what I’d like to call “The Predefined Theory”. The basis behind this assumption surrounds the idea that a programmer has physically hidden codes within the translations, themselves, since, as Elder said, it only works in Somali. Somali is only spoken by 0.0019% of the world population, and it’s believed by some that this was their motive for hiding codes within the language’s translations. Now, with this comes two important things that I want to point out. If you look at each photograph of a translation, you’ll notice one strikingly obvious detail. These translations aren’t in Somali at all. In fact, that’s only the setting that each user had manually set it to. Rather, Google automatically assumes the language of the text they are inputting, and makes a translation using its own preset, since what users are typing in is, well… it’s nonsense. So, for someone to theorize that somebody is secretly conspiring with Google to translate some hidden codes is unreasonable, and this actually ties into my next point. The bulk of the responses received by the translator appeared to be sensible strings of text, however, this seems extremely related to what ScareTheater had called “The Reverse Speech Theory.” Essentially, he claimed that when you listen to audio backwards, you make out what you want to hear. Someone else could easily listen to the same thing and get a different result, since our perceptions are relative. In this case, we are essentially fishing for creepy translations from the service, since that’s primarily what we want to see. There were plenty of things that I typed in that yielded no results at all, and a lot of the translations that I did get were nonsensical, at best. I believe that people are hunting for weirdness with this thing, and when they get it, they freak out, and share it. Now for the elephant in the room: The Facebook links, profiles, and emails. This largely remains a mystery to me. Like we said before, Google appears to be pulling texts from the comment service DISQUS. However, it honestly could be pulling this information from anywhere on its platform. Google is such a large company that has more data than you could ever imagine, and a bug like this could have some dire circumstances, since, for all we know, they actually could be pulling information from emails linked to the Gmail service. Links and private information have absolutely no place in a translation app, and while you could discount this as happenstance, these appear far too often in our tests to be a coincidence. It could be a huge privacy glitch, or even an error that Google has overlooked. I’m really not sure what to make of this, and to me, it honestly remains a mystery. I encourage you all to go over and let me know what creepy or weird translations you guys might find. Feel free to post your findings and screenshots on my subreddit. I’d love to see what you dig up. Also, if you find any more information about this translation bug, do let me know. I want to get to the bottom of this, and if it is a privacy issue, I want to have this resolved. Anyway, I want to thank Elder’s Vault for joining me in day four of The Nightmarathon Before Christmas. Tomorrow night, we’ll wrap up this awesome week at the same time, same place. You’ll know what to do. Lastly, thanks so much for watching. I love you all, and Good Night.

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100 thoughts on “Google Translate’s Strange Responses

  1. Hey guys, regarding the subreddit-

    I went ahead and started a megathread so I can consolidate all of your findings. When you head over to /r/NightmareExpo, PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT CREATE A NEW THREAD FOR YOUR FINDINGS. They will be deleted. Post your stuff on the designated thread. It's become so overwhelming lol.

    Anyway, stay awesome! See you soon.

  2. I was using the translator and got a weird story. I'll just right all the screenshots together too make it seem like a real story.
    (I used 'qo', from somali too english)

    "If you want too be part of your family. If you want too make a difference, you can use it. A little bit of a family, and a little more. Tossed around in the room. If you want to use it, use it. If you want to get it right then you need it.
    If you want to get it right then you will need it.
    If you want to get it right then you can get it.
    If you want to be a part of your family, then you will be able to get your money back."

  3. Types 'lo' over and over but once at a time

    "Just use it" and "Are you using it"

    Adds more 'lo's quickly at once instead of one at a time

    "Now you're using it"

  4. i could tell it was machine learning once it said the phrase with the male looking for female in england or whatever.

  5. it seems like some recorded data base encrypted search engine, uwu alwyas gives me stuff related to money and owo gives me something todo with harden/enforce no matter what else i place near those two words.

  6. I put peepee poo and it said open the door. So idk man.
    edit: i put poo poo pee and it said you are not alone. So I guess the demon in my house is talking to me pls help.
    edit 2: I put favorite animal and it said why dont you see me…

  7. i said:
    be ca us ei mh ap py cl ap al on gi fy ou fe el li ke ar oo mw it ho ut ar oof

    it said:
    Be the first to speak of the words in the book

    edit:
    i said:
    wh en yo ul ea ve my co lo rs fa de to gr ay nu ma nu ma ie in um an um an um

    it said:
    When I went to my house, I could not understand my children

    i said:
    il lu mi na ti

    it said:
    I've got a pain

    i said:
    al lt he si ng le la di es pu ty ou rh an ds up

    it said:
    This is what you can do

    i said:
    ca ny ou se em e?

    it said:
    What are you doing?

    i said:
    ig ot th em ov es li ke ja gg er

    it said:
    This is very important

    i said:
    bo ku no he ro ac ad em ia

    it said:
    and you no matter what

    i said:
    do nt st op ma ke it po pd jb lo wm ys pe ak er su pt on ig ht im ma fi gh tt il we se et he su nl ig ht

    it said:
    do nt st op ma ke po pd jb lo wm ys that you cant play on your own.

    i said:
    ic hi me di nw it ha ha ve nt yo up eo ple ev er he ar do fc lo si ng ag od da mn do or no

    it said:
    let me know that i'm just starting to do something about it.

    i said:
    na ru to sh ip pu de n

    it said:
    I'm excited to meet you

    i said:
    du lj un ge ha na ma ng ol la ye so ry es

    it said:
    Do not cut them in two or two

  8. Has anyone ever thought that in Somali "ah ah ah aha ah ah pop pop pop buuuu" really means "I'm gonna rape you son of a bitch" 😛

  9. When I did “ar ey ou sa tan” it said “he is gone” but the “ar ey ou sa ta n” did not work for some reason

  10. 1:46 i did that and it says: the difference between the two and the other… Whaat ??
    1:54 yeah I did that too and it says: he is gone ?
    Then I tried to write "go og le" and it says: go ahead

  11. Language : Spanish

    I put in : A re yo u ab ot ?
    What it said : Are you happy?
    maybe i would if google translate actually worked

  12. 5:43, aaand all tension is broken when someone quotes big shaq singing mans not hot and is told to take a break from alcohol XD

  13. But then again this is the same website that said:
    (Normal)
    "Translated"

    (The new russian federation)
    "I Am The Russia New federation"
    (Floridian orange juice brands)
    "Great Oranges taste companies oranges''
    (My tables is made with wood from tennesee)
    "My wood is a structure made tennesee"
    (Pet home stores in asia)
    "But the home asia of my pets homes"
    (My mother loves chocolate
    "My mother has done choclate a a times"
    (We wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year)
    "Whitest grower merry christ day new decade"
    (Highway to Delaware)
    "D e l a w a r e i s g o n e"
    (American highways leading to apartments)
    "National street taking me and me to a place of residential"
    (I have 2 cents in my pocket)
    "My 2 cent cents"

  14. I think that because the AI adapts to words said, there's actually a good explanation for it. So let's say you're talking to someone from a different country who speaks a different language. You take what you want to say a translate it to send to them. The AI reads what you said and translates it back when random words are said.

  15. Google does not care about your privacy
    of course they re taking this from gmail

    nothing is private if using googel.

    they collect every bit of data that goes through there sevices.

    it's why there free

  16. The translation thing is no longer working in general for Somalian, but i found it works for Igbo (Not yielding the same results, nor patterns that you were using) but still some interesting and comprehansable results from just typing Owo a few dozen times.

  17. If you type nonsense Arabic characters into the Arabic translator things similar to this come out. Lots of: “The password is invalid”, etc.

  18. Iˋm not surprised to see it thought "go og le go og le le og le" etc. Was norwegian as "og"="and", and "le"="laugh", which makes up 80%of the sentence. It looks like it suggests some random message it has seen before from the data collected. Maybe triggering some sort of glitch when the sentence is too complex to just respond with "translation not found"

  19. Somali to EnglishWhat I said:Do yo ul ik et ru mpDo yo ul ik et ru mpDo yo ul ik et ru mp Do yo ul ik et ru mp Do yo ul ik et ru mp Do yo ul ik et ru mp Do yo ul ik et ru mp Do yo ul ik et ru mp Do yo ul ik et ru mp Do youl iket ru mpDo yo ul ik et ru mp Do yo ul ik et ru mpWhat I got:Do not let yourself be confused with your own words. Do you think you can compete with us?

  20. I tried doing angel but it gave me a response at "an ge" (It's cut) but repeatedly doing this, I got "we are going to be cut to the point where you are going to be cut off. "

  21. me and my friend in 7th grade, during class, we would always go on google translate to decode some messages.

  22. If it was something serious google would have already done something about it. Since they have not it is safe to assume that its just the translator glitching or something

  23. First I put (Somali) "ja ke pa ul is gay" And got (english) "that guy is gay" Then I wrote (somali) "ja ke pa ul is ga y" {Difference is the space in the word gay} and I got(english) "get started"

  24. I'm french.
    So I say
    "Qui est tu?"(who are you)
    Ans it says
    "Tu veux quoi"(What do you want)

    It's really like someone is hiding in there

  25. oo ga bo og ao og ab oo ga – and i will know it
    oo ga bo og ao og ab oo ga o – and he shall know it, and shall know it.

  26. It happens in Turkish too. It says (Nice[Way over nice stuff that makes it worse]) stuff about israel. It will say stuff about israel if you ll type Pe Pe Pe Pe Pe Pe Pe and maybe more Pe.

  27. I was gonna type 'ar ey ou al iv e' but at 'ar ey o' it said 'it does not matter'. Is this a real translation, or am I being watched?

  28. One time I just wrote gibberish from French to English. The translation was "are you OK?" Damn I wish I screenshot that..

  29. I put ke ke do you love me but like this:

    Ke ke do yo u lo ve me in somoli
    And translated to english

    And it said youre not there

  30. These kinds of things are hardly surprising. Machine learning has been around for a while, more than the 2 yrs this video's been up. Also, Google pulls data from everything it's indexed, everything that's on the surface, and that includes emails, profiles and addresses. It can't show what's deeper and behind a password though

  31. this is FAKE, plain and simple. Don't believe me? try it yourself! What's that? None of the examples shown in the video match the results? Well thats easy, Google must have changed them to keep us from the truth! The icing on the cake was that this was found on 4chan's /x/ a board known for being full of LARPers and schizos. Great find Nexpo

  32. Sadly it is not working for me, I’m not sure if it’s just me or several others, though this is pretty interesting

  33. Somali: ar ey ou go nn
    Translation to english: you will be alone
    —————————————
    Somali: ar ey ou go nn ae
    Translation to english: you are here today
    —————————————
    Somali: ar ey ou go nn ae nd
    Translation to english: you will be living forever
    —————————————
    Somali: ar ey ou go nn ae nd th
    Translation to english: i will be there
    —————————————
    Somali: ar ey ou go nn ae nd th ew
    Translation to english: you will find it interesting
    —————————————
    Somali: ar ey ou go nn ae nd th ew o
    Translation to english: you will find it difficult to keep up
    —————————————
    Somali: ar ey ou go nn ae nd th ew or
    Translation to english: this will be done today
    —————————————
    Somali: ar ey ou go nn ae nd th ew or l
    Translation to english: this is very important for you
    —————————————
    This is the weirdest
    Somali: ar ey ou go nn ae nd th ew or ld
    Translation to english: you will find it useful

    Me be like: how will it be useful?

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