Google explains why Russians are ‘occupants’

As it turns out, Google Translate translated ‘Russians’ as ‘occupants’, ‘the Russian Fedration’ as ‘Mordor’ and ‘Lavrov’ as ‘a sad little horse’ purely automatically.

6 January 2016 12:43

Google commented on a scandal that broke out on January 4 after its Google Translate service translated ‘Russians’ as ‘occupants’ and ‘Lavrov’ as ‘a sad little horse’.

In an interview with pro-Kremlin RIA Novosti, a Google spokesman said no humans were involved in Google Translate operation, so all translations are generated automatically.  Malfunction of specific algorithms used by the service sometimes causes translation errors to occur.

According to the spokesperson, Google Translate uses templates retrieved from hundreds of millions documents in order to select the most appropriate options.

“The algorithms used to translate languages are complex and they depend on the context in which words are used in documents and websites found online. Therefore, there are mistakes and mistranslations, and we try to fix them as soon as possible after finding out about them,” the spokesman said.

It was reported earlier that Google Translate came up with quite unusual Russian translations of some Ukrainian words. In particular, it translated ‘Russians’ as ‘occupants’, ‘the Russian Fedration’ as ‘Mordor’ and ‘Lavrov’ as ‘a sad little horse’.