Doubting my ability to read the words on a box of Russian chocolates the other day – quite unfairly: my Russian may be close to non-existent but you don't need more than a rudimentary grasp of the Cyrillic alphabet to decipher such loanwords as 'coffee', 'chocolate' and 'praline' – the people I was with decided to trust instead to Google's translation service, only to be immediately stumped by the problem of how to type the Russian words.

The alphabet question aside, Google Translate is quite a nifty tool. Not only can it work out for itself which language the phrase you'd like to translate is in – I suppose because you may well not know that yourself – but it translates it as you type. This is what it does as you type in the first sentence of A la recherche du temps perdu:

Long, I knew...

Long, I am...

Long, I'm couch...

Long, I'm lying...

Long, I went to bed...

Long, I slept good...

Long, I went to bed early.

Which is sort of impressive and then again sort of not: it'll be a while before Google wins the Scott-Moncrieff Prize. Incidentally, if you ask Google to turn Scott-Moncrieff's translation of that sentence – 'For a long time I would go to bed early' – back into French, you get: 'Pendant longtemps, je me couche tôt.' And Lydia Davis's 'For a long time, I went to bed early' gives you: 'Pendant longtemps, je suis allé me coucher tôt.'

So here's the challenge: can you come up with an English sentence that Google Translate will turn into Proust's original? (It's not that hard, actually, though sadly the necessary string of words barely qualifies as a sentence.) No prizes, but Happy New Year anyway.