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Philippe Lhoste writes:

 > I remember an old science-fiction novel (or short story) speculating on such
 > translator and their side-effects, with users from the whole world sending
 > e-mail in a chain fashion, their e-mails being automatically translated, and
 > coming back to the original sender completely garbled.
 > AFAIK, at the time I read it, automatic translators were really
 > science-fiction...
 > Now, that's just a high tech variant of the old game of whispering a message
 > in the ear of the child next to you, which in turn whisper what he/she
 > understood to the next child, and so on... LOL each time!

A long time ago I've read the following story in a book about AI:
It was in early days of language translation attempts people
were generally a bit over-optimistic about it. A program was developed
for English/Russian (and backwards) translation. 

They put the following sentence into the system:
"The spirit is willing, but the flesh is week".
The program translated it to Russian and back again to English. The
output was:
"The vodka is good, but the meat is rotten".