A wry view of life for the world-weary

Error Of The Week (2)


So omnipresent is the world-wide web and so instantaneous is our access to information that previously would have taken hours of diligent research to unearth that there is a tendency to take everything you find on the internet as gospel. When someone makes a preposterous statement and are challenged their lame excuse is “Well, I found it on the internet”. But you would do well to treat what you learn on the internet with some caution as this story I came across this week amply demonstrates.

The Galician town of As Pontes holds an annual festival celebrating grelo, a leafy green vegetable which is a staple of the local diet. Some bright spark decided to widen the marketing activities for the festival by posting an announcement on the world-wide web. So far, so good. To that point all their marketing stuff had been in Galician, the local language of the north-west region of Spain. But they decided that to increase the marketing reach they should translate everything into Castilian Spanish.

For this they used good old Google Translate. Anyone who has used this facility will realise that what comes out has only a passing relationship to the original. The software clearly had a problem with grelo and translated it as clitoris. Doubtless the mistranslation will boost crowds at the February festival but many will be sorely disappointed.

Defenders of the useless software claim that it took the original word to be the Portuguese grelo which as well as meaning the green vegetable is slang for clitoris. A case of caveat scriptor, methinks.

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