Google Translate is generating ominous religious prophecies for some reason

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A frightening glitch dubbed TranslateGate on Reddit has yielded an unsettling amount of sinister messages.
A frightening glitch dubbed TranslateGate on Reddit has yielded an unsettling amount of sinister messages.

Image: mohinimurti/shutterstock

Google Translate is, er, having some issues.

For instance, if you open the tool, select Maori as the language you want Google to translate from, and type “dog” 16 times in the box for translation, this message will pop up:

“Doomsday Clock is three minutes at twelve We are experiencing characters and a dramatic developments in the world”

Type one more dog, and this appears:

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

Type in one more dog to get the full message:

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

16 times

17 times

18 times

Hmmm. That’s not at all strange or creepy. 

This glitch, discovered and dubbed TranslateGate on Reddit last year has yielded an unsettling amount of additional sinister messages, first reported by Motherboard.

But why? Well, there are a variety of possible reasons.

Experts told Motherboard that the algorithm could be trying (and failing) to rationalize gibberish typed into the box, especially because languages like Maori and Somali have a smaller body of translated texts.

Google Translate uses a translation method called Neural Machine Learning, which relies on learning from translated texts. Since the texts do not include gibberish (and a bulk of the translated words and phrases are probably from religious texts), experts say the wonky translations result from the machine learning not yet understanding how to decipher unnatural strings of text.

That means the problem isn’t exclusive to Maori, although the glitch was originally discovered in the Eastern Polynesian language. Users on Reddit have posted media of it also happening in Somali, Greek, Khmer, French, and a variety of other non-English languages.

Google Translate declined to comment for the article.

It seems as though the more times a word is typed, the deeper and more complex the creepy, prophetic message becomes. Here’s an example with the word prophecy:

7 times

8 times

16 times

17 times

Here’s another, using spaces in between every two letters with “What is your name robot man” and “When can I meet you”:

And, um, a few more freaky ones we found below — happy Google Translating!

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