Google Translate mistranslations have long been a source of humor and basis for generative poetry. A common strategy was to translate from one language to another to another in an extended game of telephone, each further corrupting a phrase, particularly across difficult borders like Simplified Chinese to Portuguese. The site Translation Party opted to go back and forth between English and Japanese until the phrases stabilize (sometimes taking as many as thirty iterations). However, the translation party more or less came to an end as Google massively improved its algorithm some time in early 2016.

However improved the algorithm is, there is still one bug that leads to interesting results, around the translation of the Japanese hiragana alphabet. The blog Aesthetics for Birds introduces the idea of using the same hiragana character in repetition, producing a translation that changes significantly as each new iteration is added. This post has probably my favorite example, creating a found poetic work beginning:

Rolling rollers

A variety of stuff

Rolling rollers

Rolorous rolors

From the progression:

ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ

ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ

ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ

ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ ろ 

While the two blogs use screenshots, the actual hiragana characters they used were  い and ろ. A list of other hiragana to experiment with can be found here. Have at it until Google fixes this one.

(h/t to Annie Abrahams for the link)