Book of Matthew  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Arriving at surprising results with machine translation and round-trip translation is not a recent phenomenon, and may date back to the inception of the software in the 1950s and the 1960s. According to Werner R. Loewenstein's The Touchstone of Life, a language translation machine was experimented with for translating the Bible from English to Spanish. It apparently "did quite quite well until it got to Matthew 26:41: 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.' The translation read: 'el aguardiente es agradable pero la carne es insipida' (the liquor is nice but the meat is bland)." Competing versions of the story have surfaced as far back as 1990. In 2000, a reviewer of the same book mentions a English-Russian-English version he is aware of.

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