Google Translate ‘technical error’ labels Russia as evil kingdom of ‘Mordor’
Russia is home to the Lord of the Rings’ fiery, evil kingdom of Mordor, and its foreign minister is a “sad little horse,” according to a Google Translate “technical error” that left the search giant scrambling.
Internet users began noticing the translations in the service’s Ukrainian to Russian function over the weekend, and posted screenshots on social media, The Telegraph reports.
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Among the translations: Russians are “occupiers” — an apparent reference to its annexation of Crimea — Russia is “Mordor” and the surname of Sergey Lavrov is “grustnaya loshadka”, or “sad little horse”.
In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which began nearly two years ago, Ukrainian soldiers and activists have often referred to Russia as “Mordor,” the lair of chaos in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic, according to The Telegraph.
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An embarrassed Google said in a statement to Russia media that the mistranslations were due to a “technical error.”
“When Google Translate creates an automatic translation, it uses examples from hundreds of millions of documents, in order to distinguish which variant is most appropriate,” the company said.
The bug appeared fixed on Tuesday.