Wicked : Google Translate terms Russia as ‘Mordor’ and Russians as ‘Occupiers’

Looks like some engineer at the Google’s Translate service has a very wicked sense of humor. The Google’s Translate tool translated Russian Federation as Mordor, the fictional wicked city of evil lord ‘Sauron’ from J.R.R.Tolkien’s fiction, The Lord of The Rings.

Even more wicked is that the same tool translated  “Russians” to “occupiers” and the surname of Sergey Lavrov, the country’s Foreign Minister, to “sad little horse”.

According to Google, the wicked translations happened due to an automatic bug which appeared in the online tool when users converted the Ukrainian language into Russian. However the terms actually mirror the language used by some Ukrainians for Russia following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 so Google pinning the bug on ‘automatic’ holds shallow.

The bug has now been patched according to Google. In a statement provided to the Guardian, Google said its translator tool works “without the intervention of human translators”.

“When Google Translate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide the best translation.

Wicked : Google Translate terms Russia as 'Mordor' and Russians as 'Occupiers'

“Automatic translation is very difficult, as the meaning of words depends on the context in which they’re used. This means that not all translations are perfect, and there will sometimes be mistakes or mistranslations.”

Many screenshots were taken of the erroneous translations in the past few days and shared widely on social media, particularly on VKontakte (VK) – the Russian language equivalent of Facebook.


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