Not exactly the conversation starter I was looking for but I've heard worse.

Ah yes, Google Translate: the slaughterer of homonyms, the meaning-mangler of kings, the Chinese-whisperer of the gods.

To be fair, modern machine translation can produce acceptable results if you take the trouble to present it with context: that is, complete phrases rather than isolated expressions.

But it's much more fun to churn the phrase through six languages and then back into English to see how it fared along its worldwide tour.

This way, expressions such as brain-storming tend to get shuffled into brain-damaging, and put your best foot forward becomes step up with your intelligent leg.

It's not just language that gets mangled as a result of trying to inflict your concept of expression onto that bigger part of the world that remains incomprehensibly teeming with Johnny Foreigner.

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