Thursday, March 3, 2011

Google Translate changing people's names

Well, here's a funny thing.  I asked Google Translate to translate from German to English and it didn't just translate, but changed the name of one of my colleagues to someone who used to work for the company, but left around a year ago (and didn't have the same job title anyway).

Looks like Google is trying to be just a bit too clever, searching around articles and documents from the past and putting it into the present - something like both a translate and a historical Wayback machine all in one.  You might want to try this yourself - the German text is "sagt Dietmar Schnabel, Geschäftsführer" and Google replies to me with "said Bethany Mayer, Managing Director".

They do say that they look at web documents, but this is rather strange to me. 

It makes me wonder whether as the web increases in content, anyone new getting a job will be "translated" back to the previous person who held that post, will the next US president get translated back to Barak Obama?

Apologies to Dietmar and Bethany, I hope neither of you mind being here.

1 comment:

  1. Or more worryingly, will Barak Obama get translated back to George W Bush?