Google Translate error sees Galician town of As Pontes accidentally celebrating ‘clitoris festival’

The town had meant to be celebrating rapini, a local leaf vegetable similar to spinach 

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Tuesday 03 November 2015 16:47

An unfortunate Google Translate error has led to a small town in Galicia, Spain, promoting the delights of a local ‘clitoris festival’ instead of its annual rapini festival.

The town of As Pontes in north western Spain has a tradition of holding the ‘Feira do grelo’, or rapini festival, each year, which celebrates a local leaf vegetable similar to spinach which is a local speciality.

The information about the festival was hosted on the town’s website which is primarily written in Galician, but which has all of its information translated into Castilian Spanish, too.

The error was not discovered until Castilian-speaking rapini fans visited the site to read about the upcoming festival and found themselves reading about a local clitoris festival instead of the benefits of the local vegetable.

The incorrect translation of ‘grelo’ led to some unsavoury descriptions of what festival-goers could expect, such as: “The clitoris is one of the typical products of Galician cuisine,” and, “Since 1981, the festival has made the clitoris one of the star products of local gastronomy,” the Local reports.

Monserrat Garcia, the As Pontes town hall spokeswoman, told the Local that Google Translate did not recognise the Galician world ‘grelo’, instead assuming it to be the Portugese word ‘grelo’, which in Spanish means clitoris.

“We discovered that Google translates any mention of grelos, on any website, to clitoris,” she said, adding that authorities are considering making a formal complaint to Google for not recognising the Galician language.

A Google spokesperson said that Google Translate is an automatic translator, meaning it works without the intervention of human translators using state of the art technology: "When Google Translate generates a translation, it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide on the best translation for you," but admitted that: "Since the translations are generated by machines, not all translation will be perfect and sometimes there will be mistakes or mis-translations."

"If people come across incorrect or inappropriate translations, they can let us know about them and we’ll be happy to fix them as soon as possible."

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