Anyone who tried to use Google Translate to switch Ukrainian into Russian this week may have encountered some epic internet ‘bants’.
According to the Washington Post, the website translated the ‘Russian Federation’ into ‘Mordor’, the name of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov became ‘sad little horse’ and a ‘Russian’ was also translated as an ‘occupant’.
It is still unclear whether the cheeky little digs were the work of mischievous hackers or a disgruntled Google employee but, according to Ukrainian media the problem was “solved” by late afternoon Tuesday.
Ukrainian news outlet, Ukrainska Pravda, uses Google Translate to switch its entire site into Russian so, as you can imagine, every mention of ‘the Russian Federation’ as ‘Mordor’ – the barren seat of evil in Lord of the Rings, and a term often used by Ukrainian activists to refer to Russia – raised a few eyebrows.
An unnamed Google spokesman was quoted by RBC Russia as saying that:
The algorithms used to translate languages were very complex, therefore, there are mistakes and mistranslations, and we try to fix them as soon as possible after finding out about them.
The neighbouring nations used to maintain pretty friendly cultural and economic ties but, after a pro-European Union (EU) protest movement overthrew Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, fuelling a separatist conflict in the east of the country and pissing off most of the rest of Europe in the process.
The two countries have since cut most of their economic ties and, as of January 1 – when Ukraine entered into a free-trade agreement with the European Union – Russia has cut the Ukraine out of its own free-trade zone.
So, Putin is not up for the incorrect Google translations banter it seems…