Instead of performing grammatical translations, Google Translate matches phrases and words contained within a gigantic database. Take a line from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice: You speak an infinite deal of nothing. Now like a game of telephone, type it into Google Translate. From English to Russian, Вы говорите бесконечное много ничего,then Hindi आप अंतहीन कुछ भी नहीं की एक बहुत हैं, then to French, Vous avez beaucoup de rien sans fin, then to Yiddish איר האָבן אַ פּלאַץ פון סאָף גאָרנישט and finally back into English where the original phrase has morphed into, ‘You have a lot of endless nothing'.
This project utilizes Google Translate, Google Earth, and Google NGRAM as a basis for reworking the mottos and seals of the fifty states. Each motto is sequentially translated through the five most prevalent spoken languages in a given state.
Each seal is created from a landscape satellite image of the area where Google Earth dropped the pin for that state. I selected the specific images as representative snapshots of a given state or motto, or some combination, based on my own impressions and aesthetics.
As a footnote, a chart is included for each state that tracks the usage over the last 200 years of each state motto as determined and generated by Google NGRAM viewer, which is a phrase usage graphing tool that charts the yearly count of selected ngrams (letter combinations) or words and phrases, as found in over 5.2 million books digitized by Google.