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March 28, 2013

Google Translate Mistakes

The Google Translate app for Android has some text files that include translation mistakes (/sdcard/Android/data/com.google.android.apps.translate/files/ol/v3r1/c_p). Some of them have been reported by users, blogs, news sites, while others are new. It's not clear why the application needs these lists since Google has fixed these translation errors.

Here are some examples:

German to English: Stuttgart -> London, tischen -> Nazi, Sheraton -> Hilton, StepStone -> Monster, Kilo -> pounds

French to English: le président américain -> Bush, toussaint -> Halloween, Homme -> Female ("homme" means "man" in French, "le président américain" means "the American president")


Spanish to English: Madrid -> London, útil -> helpful Google Translation, amor -> truelove ("útil" means "useful" in Spanish, while "amor" means "love").

English to Russian: jew -> жид (Yid, used as a derogatory epithet by antisemites), altogether -> обнаженная модель ("nude model" in Russian).

English to French: boobs massage -> Ségolène Royal, boobs massage -> Kaamelott Saison, it sucks -> elle suce

English to Spanish: quiz trivia -> vínculo con Israel

Catalan to English: Jordi Pujol -> Abraham Lincoln

English to Latin: English -> Latin, New York -> Romae, New York -> Londini, Milan -> Lib

English to Dutch: please -> iPhone, feet -> meter

Hungarian to English: magyar -> English, Kossuth Lajos -> Abraham Lincoln

Icelandic to English: Sigur Rós -> Foo Fighters, Sigur Ros -> Anastacia

Latin to English: Libri -> Random, Libri -> Reviews, Arma Virumque Cano -> Chairman Meow

Russian to English: Вконтакте -> Facebook, Вконтакте -> Twitter, Вконтакте -> OpenID ("Вконтакте"/VK is a popular Russian social network), ОС -> Windows ("ОС" means operating system in Russian), Уважаемый Дмитрий -> Mr President ("Уважаемый Дмитрий" means "Dear Dmitry", while Dmitry Medvedev was Russia's President), Владимир Владимирович -> Mr Prime Minister ("Владимир Владимирович" means "Vladimir Vladimirovich", while Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin was Russia's Prime Minister), скрыто -> email ("скрыто" means "private, secret"), Сплин -> Metallica (popular Russian rock band).

Serbian to English: Mitar Mirić -> Rihanna, Miric -> Jackson

Swedish to English: Runkar -> Heil Hitler, kronor -> dollars

Google's machine translation algorithms are often fooled by proper nouns used in similar contexts (Madrid in Spanish vs London in English, Sigur Rós in Icelandic vs Foo Fighters in English), by measurement units and currencies (feet in English vs meter in Dutch), but there are also non-obvious mistakes.

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