Google is the latest brand to find itself the source of contention in relation to Crimea after its language translating tool was discovered to be converting Russian related words into less savoury terms.
Following closely on the heels of Coca-Cola’s Crimea map hiccup, Google translated was found to be making erroneous translations such as ‘Russian Federation’ becoming ‘Mordor’- the fictional land in JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings which is also referred to as the land of shadows.
When the Russian foreign minister’s name, Sergey Lavrov, was put through the online translation tool it emerged as ‘sad little horse’. The word ‘Russians’ meanwhile changed to ‘occupiers’.
The error, which has since been fixed, occurred when users converted Ukranian into Russian, suggesting that discontent Ukranians and supporters of region were behind the affront.
Google was quick to rebuff any involvement in the error and claimed that the problem was the result of an automatic bug.
A spokesperson told the Guardian that translator tool works “without the intervention of human translators”.
They added that translations are generated by searching for “patterns in hundreds of millions of documents” and admitted that “not all translations are perfect, and there will sometimes be mistakes or mistranslations.”
Screenshots of the translations were captured and shared widely across social media, especially on VKontakte, the Russian language equivalent of Facebook.