Christian Heilmann

Posts Tagged ‘lyrics’

Rickrolling Google translate with YQL – Rickrollwhisper

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

This morning I found this wonderful blog post that shows what happens when you run the “never gonna give you up” aka. RickRoll lyrics through an automated translation tool and back into English.

This has been a classic time waster using Babelfish in the past for me and I thought we could knock it up a notch and used YQL and the Google Translation API to automate this process.

Check out Rickrollwhisper to see the results.


Google Translate is one of the Open Data Tables built by the outside community for YQL and you can use it simply by providing a source text and the language to translate to:

select * from google.translate where q=”this is a test” and target=”de”;

Try it out for yourself or see it in the console.

The result is the text as a translatedText element:



Dies ist ein Test

Using this, I simply took an array of supported languages and took a random one each time I translated the lyrics:

$lyrics = “We’re no strangers to love,
I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling,
Gotta make you understand”;

$target = getlanguage();
$t = getstuff($lyrics,$target);
$trans1 = ‘



Language: ‘.$target.’

$target2 = $target;
while($target2 == $target){
$target2 = getlanguage();

$t = getstuff($t,$target2);
$trans2 = ‘



Language: ‘.$target2.’

$result = getstuff($t,’en’);

function getlanguage(){
$languages = array(‘it’,’nl’,’fr’,’de’,’sv’,’pl’,’ro’);
return $languages[rand(0,sizeof($languages)-1)];

function getstuff($text,$target){
$root = ‘’.
$yql = ‘select * from google.translate where q=”’.$text.’”’.
’ and target=”’.$target.’”’;
$url = $root.urlencode($yql);
$curl_handle = curl_init();
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_URL, $url);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT, 2);
curl_setopt($curl_handle, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
$buffer = curl_exec($curl_handle);
if (empty($buffer)){
return ‘Error retrieving data, please try later.’;
} else {
$json = json_decode($buffer);
$result = $json->query->results->translatedText;
return $result;


Maybe I find the time to create the multitranslate as an open table to make this more generic.