Google: Lost in translation?

by Seamus Padraig

In an article sure to breathe life into the old conspiracy theories about Silicon Valley and the CIA, The Guardian recently reported that:

Google has fixed an “automated” error which saw its online translating tool convert “Russian Federation” into “Mordor”.
Other erroneous translations included “russians” becoming “occupiers” and the name of Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, rendered as “sad little horse”.
Mordor is the fictional realm in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books, also known as the land of shadows.
The error, which Google said is down to an automatic bug, appeared in the online tool when users converted the Ukranian [sic] language into Russian.
Google, naturally, denied any ‘evil’ intent, telling The Guardian in a written statement that its translator tool works “without the intervention of human translators”.

Sure it does! And no doubt the problem was fixed automatically too, wasn’t it!
Down in the comboxes, many took the opportunity to bash Russia and all things Russian, but at least one commenter decided to take a shot at the messenger instead:
How’s that for lost in translation!


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Bryan Hemming
Bryan Hemming
Feb 2, 2016 11:45 AM

Apparently, if you type ‘automatic error’ into Google translator it comes out as ‘lying toads’.

Jan 31, 2016 1:16 AM

Reblogged this on Siem Reap Mirror.

Norman Pilon
Norman Pilon
Jan 30, 2016 11:34 PM

“How’s that for lost in translation!” Actually, nothing at all got lost.
Now if ‘Guardian’ had been returned as anything other than ‘Lapdog,’ something indeed would have gotten lost.
And as it is, the real Google Translate still appears to be buggy. No matter how hard I try to translate ‘Guardian’ into English, it just keeps coming back as ‘Guardian.’
“Automatic errors.” Right.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Jan 31, 2016 7:35 PM
Reply to  Norman Pilon

😀 Ha, ha! Good point.