11 Times Google Translate Turned Pop Hits Into Hilarious Nonsense

Behold Google Translate's “Despacito” lyrics.

Whichever software engineers are responsible for creating Google Translate likely had little idea the web app would become a pop star, in a sense — and an unintentionally funny one, at that!

Google's language translation tool is a powerful one. It can translate words in real-time in the real world via a cellphone camera, it lets users draw non-Roman characters, and it's even enabling young students and athletes to bridge language gaps. 

Sure, Google Translate can translate conversational language very well,  but it seems to have a tougher time with song lyrics. And the ensuing mistranslations make for comedy gold.


Jimmy Fallon, for example, has had his musically inclined celebrity guests sing songs Google Translated to other languages and back to English. And YouTube star Malinda Kathleen Reese has been mining Google Translate songs for laughs even longer. (Her Google Translate "Despacito," for one, joins a long list of funny parodies of the smash hit song.) 

Here are some of our favorite Google Translate "covers":

1. Malinda Kathleen Reese’s Google Translated “Despacito”

As "Despacito" became one of the seven foreign-language songs to top the Billboard Hot 100, YouTube covers, tributes, and parodies came fast and furious. Sesame Street has been spoofing songs like "Despacito" for years, and it made this particular song into a rubber duckie tribute. Then there's an all-cello "Despacito" cover, a boy band's "Despacito" acapella, a "Despacito" mash-up with "I'm the One," an 11-year-old girl's impromptu "Despacito" dances, and a video with a whole class of "Despacito" dancers.

But it just doesn't get any better than Malinda Kathleen Reese singing the Google Translate API's translation of the Spanish lyrics. Behold the Google Translate "Despacito":

2. Miley Cyrus’ Google Translated “Shape Of You”

Ed Sheeran probably scratched his head if he heard the English-to-Croatian-to-English Google Translate version of his hit "Shape of You," as performed by Miley Cyrus on The Tonight Show. ("But my organ drops right out / I like the cadaver"? Google Translate songs get morbid!)

Watch the video here.

3. Malinda Kathleen Reese’s Google Translated “Wrecking Ball”

Speaking of Cyrus, this YouTube star Google Translated the singer's hit "Wrecking Ball" as part of her Google Translate Sings series — and "I came in like a wrecking ball" suddenly becomes "I like the ball in the sink." (Given Cyrus's stated pansexuality,  though, she'd surely endorse the first lyric: "We link you through our queer hearts.")

Watch the video here.

4. Malinda Kathleen Reese’s Google Translated “Dangerous Woman”

"Ariana Grande may famously not pronounce her words," Malinda K. Reese asserts in this video. "But what would her lyrics sound like if translated into several languages in Google Translate and back into English?" Get ready to find out.

Watch the video here.

5. Idris Elba’s Google Translated “Baby Got Back”

You might not know actor Idris Elba had musical chops, but he, too, got in on the Google Translate songs fun on The Tonight Show. He rapped an English-to-Latvian-to-English version of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back" — or should we say, "The Baby Escaped"?)

6. Malinda Kathleen Reese’s Google Translated “For the First Time in Forever”

Frozen fans got a belly laugh when Malinda K. Reese translated "For the First Time in Forever" to other languages and back to English. Princess Anna has never sounded so … nonsensical?

Watch the video here.

7. Malinda Kathleen Reese’s Google Translated “Once Upon a Dream”

That's not the only Disney cover song Malinda K. Reese put through the Google Translate English to Foreign Languages and Back Machine! She also translated "Once Upon a Dream" from Sleeping Beauty into languages such as Russian, Uzbek, and Kyrgyz.

Watch the video here.

8. Anne Hathaway’s Google Translated “I Can’t Feel My Face”

You all saw Anne Hathaway rock that lip-synch battle, but watch her tackle English-to-Hungarian-to-English Google Translate songs on The Tonight Show. The Weeknd's "I Can't Feel My Face," for instance, becomes "My Front is Not Felt."

Watch the video here.

9. Malinda Kathleen Reese’s Google Translated “Hello”

For this installment of Google Translate Sings, Reese put Adele's comeback hit "Hello" through "several layers of Google Translate" ... to hilarious effect! We think Adele would approve.

10. Malinda Kathleen Reese’s Google Translated “Bohemian Rhapsody”

"Bohemian Rhapsody" is wacky enough already — um, "Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?" — but the Queen hit gets exponentially weirder as a Google Translate document, as Malinda K. Reese proved.

Watch the video here.

11. Rebel Wilson’s Google Translated Holiday Songs

If you had Google Translate headphones and listened to holiday hits with 'em this yuletide season, you might hear the crazy Christmas carols Rebel Wilson sang on The Tonight Show. All of a sudden, "Walking in a winter wonderland" becomes "I ran through the land of cold unknowns."

Watch the video here.


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.