Alternative theory: From my misspent career as a guerrilla warfare ad man (and my dalliance as a novelist) another possibility is that Google is having some fun with the tin-foil helmet crowd.I would term the Google Translate story as "the displacement activity of Google übergeniuses having some fun." Furthermore, I posit that the pranksters are probably Chinese employees.
My own displacement activity manifested itself in my first novel, Destroying Angel, in which one of my characters spoke only in palindromes (sentences that read the same forward and backward). It would often take me a whole week to write one coherent of dialogue. Why did I do this? Because I wanted to "suspend reader disbelief" that my character was an off-the-charts genius who was capable of creating a self-aware/self-conscious AI program that could modify itself on the fly and take over the world.
Hence, I would place pretty good odds on my Google Translate theory. But time will tell, and I leave it up to Brian Krebs to follow this story to…The Truth.