Google Translate may be free, and widely used yet we should always aim for reliability. Reports said that the service failed at translation when it referred to a Spanish food fest as a “clitoris festival.”
In Northern Spain, a Galician town called As Pontes celebrates a Spanish food festival every February. The festival features the leafy green vegetable “grelo.” In the Galician language, they call the food festival “Feria do grelo” (rapini festival).
Officials translated the announcement into the Spanish language using Google Translate, as mentioned on The Guardian. Upon translating the Galician word “grelo” into Castillan Spanish, the result was that people were being invited to a “Feria clítoris” or “clitoris festival.”
The announcement read, “The clitoris is one of the typical products of Galician cuisine. Since 1981 … the festival has made the clitoris one of the star products of its local gastronomy.”
Montserrat Garcia, the town’s spokeswoman, revealed that they were unaware of the translation error. The announcement has been on their website for the past months. They were only able to correct the error last week.
Garcia told the site, “It was quite a surprise. At first, we didn’t believe what we were seeing.”
She said that Google Translate might have detected the Galician word “grelo” as Portugese. This meant that the word could refer to the vegetable or the slang for “clitoris.”
As reported on Mirror, Garcia said, “It’s a very serious error on the part of Google and we are thinking about making an official complaint for Google to properly recognise the Galician language so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”
Meanwhile, Google Translate was reported to have corrected the translation. The Guardian noted that the Galician word, “grelo” is now translated as “brote” or sprout. But Garcia admitted she is still dissatisfied; according to her, “grelo” is “a vegetable from the turnip family.”
A Google spokesperson said that Google Translate will not always be perfect because it is machine-generated. When a word is translated, it usually looks for patterns across millions of documents to provide the best translation.
“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,” the spokesperson added.