Just this morning I came across the brilliant web site The English-to-12-Year-Old-AOLer Translator. Let’s see what happens when we take some famous literary first lines and translate them:
Now is the winter of our discontent
NOW SI DA WINTAR OF OUR DISCONTENT!1!1!1! OMG LOL
Call me Ishmael.
is translated as
CAL M3 ISHMA3L!!!111!1 OMG WTF
All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
appears to go back into its native Russian as
AL HAPY FMILEIS R ALIEK 3ACH UNHAPY FMILEY SI UNHAPY IN ITS OWN WAY
When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.
desecrates the memory of Thoreau when rendered as
WH3N I WROTE DA FOLOWNG PAEGS OR RATHAR TEH BULK OF TH3M I LIEVD ALONE IN TEH WODS A MIEL FROM ANY N3IGHBOR IN A HOUES WHICH I HAD BUILT MYSALF ON TEH SHORA OF WALDAN POND IN CONCORD MASACHUESTS AND 3ARNED MAH LIVNG BY TEH LABOR OF MAH HANDS ONLEY!1!1!1 LOL
looks suspiciously like a psychotropic beatnik first draft as
I FIRST M3T DEAN NOT LONG AFT3R MAH WIEF AND I SPLIT UP!!!1!!111 OMG LOL
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
isn’t that substantially worse than some modern “translations” when communicated to us thusly:
IN TEH BGINNG GOD CR3AETD TEH HAAEVN AND TEH EARTH!11!!1 WTF
The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.
guarantees that schlocky pulp will thrive for another generation when written like this:
TEH MAN IN BLAK FLAD ACROS DA DASERT AND TEH GUNSLNG3R FOLOWED!!111 OMG WTF LOL
In the second century of the Christian Era, the empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilized portion of mankind.
loses ever such a minuscule degree of Gibbon’s elegant grandeur here:
IN TEH SECOND CENTURY OF DA CHRISTIAN ARA DA EMPIER OF ROM3 COMPREH3NDAD DA FARE3ST PART OF DA EARTH AND TEH MOST CIVILIEZD PORTION OF MANKIND!!!!!1 OMG LOL
is, perhaps not surprisingly, no noticeably more obscure after translation:
RIEVRUN PAST AVE AND ADMS FROM SW3RVE OF SHOR3 2 BND OF BAY BRNGS US BY A COMODIOS VICUS OF RECIRCULATION BAK 2 HOWTH CASTLA AND ANVIRONS!!1!!!1 LOL
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
is now ready to penetrate the deepest reaches of the adolescent soul:
MANY YAARS L8R AS H3 FAECD TEH FIRNG SQUAD COLONEL AUR3LIANO BU3NDIA WAS 2 R3MEMBR TAHT DISTANT AFTERNON WH3N HIS FATHER 2K HIM 2 DISCOVAR IEC!!11! OMG LOL