Reza Aslan has his fingers in Google Translate



  1. Posted September 20, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    disambiguation and its discontents

  2. rickflick
    Posted September 20, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    The actual translation is given as: Allah is the greatest, which, of course, also has nothing to do with Islam.

    • Posted September 20, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Everyone knows that Ali was the greatest.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 20, 2016 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        And we ain’t talkin’ about the prophet’s son-in-law, sucka!

  3. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    I think that pic’s been hacked, since if I try Google Translate English -> Arabic, the Arabic comes out in Arabic script.

    It is of course possible to ‘suggest’ improved translations to Google Translate, which the algorithm presumably takes into account. Not sure if you could hack it that way.

    I am somewhat gratified to note that it translates four-letter-words quite successfully from English to French and vice versa…


  4. Posted September 22, 2016 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Brilliant bit of humor, especially once Reza Aslan is added to the mix!

  5. Thos Cochrane
    Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    This is funny, I laughed. I get the point.

    But I have a more general question/point about the link between the saying and religious motivations: isn’t saying Allahu Akbar pretty equivalent to saying “oh my God” in many contexts? If so, then merely knowing that someone said “Allahu Akbar” doesn’t tell you much (anything?) about their views on religion.

    • Posted September 23, 2016 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      I’ve thought that, too, at times, and decided it was all about the context and tone of voice.

      Or, should I say, Allah about the Akbar! 😉

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 23, 2016 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      Not that it’s equivalent, but have you ever watched a Youtube video of, say, a crash at an air show and noticed how, as if a switch had been flipped, someone starts droning on mindlessly ‘oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god’ in a flat monotone like a robot? Almost predictable and very annoying.


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