While incredibly useful, Google Translate is also known for its occasional snafus. For example, an English to French translation of “videos on Vimeo” previously resulted in “des videos sur YouTube.” Another example of a wonky translation took place when Kai-Fu Lee, president of the search giant’s China operations, left the company.
Today’s questionable result comes from an English to Italian translation of “call us for free.” The phrase returns in Italian as “Telefonare gratis con Skype.” The reverse translation results in ‘call us for free.’
This doesn’t seem to work in other languages, so it could just be a glitch in the system. Or it could be a result of a crowdsourced effort to change the translation. We’ve contacted Google for comment. Regardless, it provides for a little lighthearted humor on a Tuesday afternoon.
Update: Google has confirmed that this was a machine translation error and not the result of a crowdsourced effort to change a translation. The translation has now been corrected.
Google Translate is a beta service provided by Google Inc. to translate a section of text, or a webpage, into another language. The service limits the number of paragraphs, or range of technical terms, that will be translated. It is also possible to enter searches in a source language that are first translated to a destination language allowing you to browse and interpret results from the selected destination language in the source language. For some languages, users are asked...