Language translation tool error converting Russian Federation in Ukrainian to fictional dark land from Lord of the Rings down to automatic bug, says company

Google has fixed an automated mistake which saw its online translating tool convert Russian Federation into Mordor.

Other erroneous translations included russians becoming occupiers and the name of Russias foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, rendered as sad little horse.

Mordor is the fictional realm in JRR Tolkiens Lord of the Rings volumes, also known as the land of shadows.

The error, which Google said is down to an automatic bug, appeared in the online tool when users converted the Ukranian speech into Russian.

In 2014, Kremlin-supported forces annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea, with strong suggestions and repeated refusals by Russian chairwoman Vladimir Putin that Russian soldiers had entered Ukrainian province. Moscow sources have since admitted a mistaken Russian military presence of the states of the region.


Sergey Lavrov, Russians foreign minister, whos name was translated into sad little pony from Ukranian. Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko/ AP

In a statement provided to the Guardian, however, Google said its translator tool works without the intervention of human translators.

When Google Translate produces a translation, it looks for patterns in hundreds of millions of documents to help decide the best translation.

Photograph: Vadim Nakhankov/ VKontakte

Automatic translation is very difficult, as the meaning of words depends on the context in which theyre employed. This means that not all translations are perfect, and there will sometimes be blunders or mistranslations.

Many screenshots were taking into consideration the erroneous translations in the past days and shared widely on social media, particularly on VKontakte( VK) the Russian speech equivalent of Facebook.

Google has since fixed the bug.

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