Juvenile Fun with Famous Poetry

September 14, 2004

A couple of years ago at my old job as a group of us frittered away the last hours of the night shift, my coworker Lucia, who runs the world’s coolest online book store, entertained us with a fun little trick. She discovered that if you take William Carlos Williams’ famous poem about chickens, “The Red Wheelbarrow,” and use Babelfish to translate from English into a foreign language and back to English, the results are quite amusing. Remembering this just the other day, I decided it would be fun to share this game with you:

The original:

So much depends


a red wheel


glazed with rain


beside the white


English –> Dutch –> English:

This way much hang from a red wheel wheelbarrow vitrified with rain water beside the white chickens

English –> German –> English:

hangs as much after a red wheel truck off glazed with rain water beside the white chickens

English –> Japanese –> English:

So side of the white chicken where the rainwater and the gloss which depend on the red monocycle can be applied

English –> Portuguese –> English:

thus very it depends in top of a red stand on hand of the wheel vitrified with water on rain to the side of the white hens

English –> Chinese (simp) –> English:

Extremely is decided to a red wheel handcart to enamels with the rain water nearby the white chicken

And finally… my favorite: English –> Korean –> English:

Lapse in the rain adjacent waters which depends in the deep-red wheel grave the wheel me in the side of the white chicken

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.

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