Skip to main content

Google Translate Doesn’t Call Russia “Mordor.” Anymore.

One does not simply translate "Russia."


We all know (I hope) that Google translate isn’t perfect, but sometimes, the online translating tool seems more aware than it’s letting on. In the past, its ability to learn from the web hasn’t always turned out positive results, but while calling Russia “Mordor” is technically a mistake, it’s also some pretty hilarious editorializing.

Ukrainian media recently realized that, when translating from Ukranian to Russian, Google translate swapped several references to Russia and its people for … less-than-favorable terms. Not only did it supply “Mordor” for “Russian Federation,” but “Russians” came up as “occupiers,” and “Lavrov,” the last name of Russian’s foreign minister, resulted in “sad little horse.” (Like the one Putin rides without a shirt?)

Ouch, Google translate. I know your algorithm probably just picked up those insults hurled around the web, but aggregated opinions can still sting, you know.

As they often have to do in such cases, Google has corrected the error, saying in a statement (via io9),

Google Translate is an automatic translator—it works without the intervention of human translators, using technology instead. We always work to correct these as quickly as possible when they are brought to our attention.

Great work, Google. Now how is Frodo supposed to know where he needs to take the ring?

(image via Global Panorama on Flickr)

—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—

Do you follow The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.