It's past midnight.
A group of people of different nationalities walk in a European city.
One of these people says she knows a love song, but doesn't remember its name. She sings a few words, or lines, and two of her friends start singing it.
The three – two Iranians and one Israeli – walk through the city at night and sing, almost whisper, one of Iran's fondest love songs, Soltān-e Ghalbhā – "King of hearts" (not the card). It's a memory I will always cherish, with people I will always love.
This is how the singer Monica sings it – in Persian and in English (don't go away, there's another version right after).
I told my friend Uri about this night. He doesn't speak Persian, but can find anything on the web. He found the lyrics and translated them by Google translate.
Now Persian is written in a consonantal alphabet, like Hebrew and unlike English. But while in Hebrew there is usually only one way to spell a word, in Persian morphemes occasionally break away from the word. Thus the non-human plural suffix -hā (ها) may be written either separately, e.g. قلب ها ghalb hā "hearts", or as part of the same word, e.g.قلبها ghalbhā. The continuous prefix mī- می may either be written as part of the word, e.g. میگه mige "says" (colloquial) or separately, e.g. می گه mi ge. This is the spelling in the case of the lyrics Uri chose to translate by Google.
Needless to say, in languages with consonantal alphabets there are a lot more homographs (words that are spelled the same) than in languages like English, that always indicate the vowels. Add to this the multiple ways of spelling so many of the words, and you'll find a heaven for Google-translate jokes.
This is how Soltān-e Ghalbhā sounds when you let Google translate do the job. If you were wondering why employ proper translators instead of using software (Persian نرم افزار narm afzār, not to be confused with its homograph نرم naram "I should not go").
ואם אתם דוברי עברית ורוצים ללמוד אצלי פרסית – הנה ההזדמנות שלכם: לימודי פרסית.