Google’s translation software called the Russian foreign minister a “sad little horse” and referred to the country as “Mordor”, the evil area in the Lord of the Rings.
The errors occurred when translating key phrases from Ukrainian into Russian, and appear to have been inserted because of people protesting against Russia’s operations in Ukraine.
The tool translated “Russians” into “occupiers”, apparently in reference to the conflict. And putting in the name of Sergey Lavrov, the country's foreign minister, showed up the Russian for "sad little horse".
Google said that the insults had come up automatically and occurred because of the way that the translation tool works.
"Google Translate is an automatic translator -- it works without the intervention of human translators, using technology instead,” a Google spokesperson told The Independent. “When GoogleTranslate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide on the best translation for you.
“But 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.
“We always work to correct these as quickly as possible when they are brought to our attention."
It isn’t clear where Google pulls in the information for its Translate tool. But previously people have been able to intentionally game other Google tools — by “Googlebombing” and intentionally flooding the web with pages that link two words together, it is possible to trick the search engine.
Google Maps was tricked into showing racist words for the White House, for instance, and the same method has been used to slur football teams. That was apparently done by associating the names with certain link.
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