As one that works daily with Microsoft Word—it is better than it has ever been—and Google—it has a long, long way to go—I’ve learned one salient fact: one must be smarter than the software. By that I mean you can’t mindlessly rely on spelling and grammar checkers, or formatting features. Thinking ahead, knowing one’s purpose and goals, is essential, as a Spanish town recently discovered:
The clitoris: a gastronomic delight typical of Galician cuisine, according to a town that promoted its local festival after using Google Translate.
A town hall in northwestern Spain was left red-faced after a Google Translate error led to it advertising its local leaf vegetable celebration as a much more X-rated affair.
One of the highlights of the year in the town of As Pontes in Galicia, northwestern Spain, is its annual rapini festival, when townsfolk celebrate the town’s speciality, the leafy green vegetable similar to spinach.
But when residents clicked onto the Castillian Spanish version of the town’s website – provided by Google Translate – to check the dates for next year’s fest they were shocked at the new turn the festival had apparently taken.
‘The clitoris is one of the typical products of Galician cuisine,’ read the description of the festival on the Castillian Spanish version of the town hall’s website, whose original version is written in Galician.
You just can’t make this sort of thing up, gentle readers:
Google translate recognized our Galician word grelo as Portuguese and translated into the Spanish clítoris,’ town hall spokeswoman Monserrat García, explained to The Local.
Google Translate changed Feira do grelo (Rapini Festival) into Feria Clítoris (Clitoris Festival) leading to some embarrassment when staff at the town hall discovered their error on Thursday.
‘Since 1981, the festival has made the clitoris one of the star products of the local gastronomy,’ read the blurb on the town’s official website, extolling the region’s gastronomic goods.
And it is not only the town hall’s website that has received an X-rated makeover thanks to Google.
‘We discovered that Google translates any mention of grelos, on any website, to clitoris,’ García 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 recognize the Galician language so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again,’ she added.
Oh, don’t do that! Life is much more fun with little errors like this. Bon appetit!