Google Translate is an extraordinary tool that can translate 133 languages across the world and bridges the gaps in human communication.
It allows people from different cultures to understand each other even if they don’t speak the same language.
But as remarkable as it is, Google Translate is not without faults. You can’t always count on its accuracy because it’s not a native speaker of any language so words and meanings might get lost in translation, or in some cases, be ruined completely.
Let’s take a look at some of the times when Google Translate beefed it up by providing translations that were hilariously wrong.
Although this error in translation was rectified minutes later, nothing could be done to erase proof of its existence because someone had already immortalized it as an image.
Apparently, Google Translate was thrown into confusion when asked to translate “I really hate this company” from English to Japanese.
The result was a complete departure from the original text because Google translated it as “Our company is really using Facebook.” I mean, that was probably true, but it wasn’t the assignment, so I’ll give it an E for Effort.
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This hilarious translation is brought to you by a Duolingo user who wanted to translate some English words into Spanish. However, the Spanish translation that Google Translate returned was far different from the original English sentence.
When translated back into English, the Spanish translation now read “A woman riding a motorcycle in leathers stopped to give birth to a boy in the monkey wearing a car and a strawberry.” How ridiculous is that?
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While writing a document about workplace safety equipment, someone needed to translate the words “Fall Protection” into Spanish from English. But since Google Translate couldn’t figure out the context behind the words, it translated it literally as “Otoño protection.”
You see, Otoño in Spanish means autumn. Google Translate presumed that “Fall” was referring to the season rather than the action of losing balance.
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When it comes to passion and romance, the French can be very expressive and this is reflected in the vivid imagery and color that their language evokes. However, they are certainly not as crude as this Google Translation will have you believe.
Google Translate converted the English sentence “Take a dirty picture for me” into French as “Prendre one photo coquine pour moi” which means “Take a picture for me slut.” We hope this Google Translate fail didn’t cost someone their relationship with a French lover.
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You would think that simple sentences would be easy for Google Translate to nail, but as this bungled example shows, that is not always. When translating the sentence “my dog has a hangover” to German, Google Translate changed the meaning to “my dog has a cat.”
Who knew that pets could have pets too? I don’t know about you, but that’s a sight I’d love to see.
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The weird thing about this funny Google Translate fail is that the blunder happens before it even gets a chance to translate the submitted sentence into the desired language, Spanish.
The tool just decided it no longer wanted to live in a world without blatant sexism, gender roles, and equality.
That’s the only explanation I can come up with for why Google Translate decided to convert the sentence “men are men and men should clean the house” into “men are men and women should clean the house.”
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Let’s say you want to translate “Just wipe that dirt off your shoulder” from English to Greek, Google Translate can pretty much handle that. It’ll give you a correct result with the same or very similar meaning.
But if you try translating the result from Greek back into English as this person did, Google Translate takes things up a notch by recommending that you wipe away your shoulders instead.
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You have probably heard the phrase “beat around the bush,” but what you might not know is that when you translate this phrase to Dutch using Google Translate, it becomes unrecognizable.
The Dutch translation of this expression according to Google Translate is “defeat the bush.” Maybe the AI took things a little too literally rather than figuratively and hopefully, it learns from its mistakes.
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We never knew there would come a day when drinks can become a trendy fashion item that you can don or take off at any time, but Google Translate is full of surprises like that.
When someone wanted to translate the sentence “I like drinking juice” from English into Swedish, the translation engine returned the result as “Jag haller pa med en juice.”
When translated back into English, this means “I’m wearing juice.” C’mon Google Translate, get it together.
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A while ago, someone made the discovery that if you attempt to translate “Lady Gaga” from Malay to any other language, Polish, for instance, the result you get will be “Britney Spears.” How hilarious is that?
Maybe it was a bug that went unnoticed or perhaps Google was intentionally trying to infuse humor into its translations. We might never know for sure how this funny Google Translate fail came to be, but it was entertaining while it lasted.
The Somali language is one of the most beautiful and complex languages in the world. As with many languages, repetition can change the meaning and context of certain words.
However, as someone discovered, Google Translate takes this to an extreme when you type the Somali word “ka” repeatedly. The more you type the word, the more ridiculous and confusing the translation becomes in English.
Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, a lot of people still believe the earth is flat. There’s nothing you can say to change their minds or try to get to see the flaws in their hypothesis.
So yeah, I kinda get where Google translate was coming from with this one and even though I freely admit that it is rude, I found it really funny. I don’t know what the translation tool was thinking when it came up with this, maybe it was trying to make a joke or pull off a prank.
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The funny thing about this Google Translate fail is all the scenarios it opens up in your head about what might have transpired behind the scenes to make the translation engine give up and display “Fatal error” in response to a German text.
Maybe Google Translate was having a bad day or it was so overwhelmed with translation requests that it threw its hands up in defeat and prayed for the worst to happen. Who amongst us cannot relate to that?
Google Translate must have definitely been trying to prank us with this one because that’s the only explanation for why Justin Bieber’s name would change into something different when translated from English to Indonesian. What or should I say who is Bunga Citra Lestari?
Everyone knows that names stay the same no matter what language they are translated into. The meaning behind the name might be expressed or called something different in another language, but the name itself remains unchanged—get it together, Google!
Although English is the official language spoken in Australia, the dialect and accent of the country can make it hard to follow and fully comprehend what Australians are saying sometimes.
I’m always utterly captivated whenever I hear Australians speaking because their words take on a kind of lyricism that’s missing from everyday English.
But I do find it hilarious when people who are not from the region try to mimic the Australian dialect, so this Google translate fail had me rolling on the floor. What’s Hugh Jackman even doing there?
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I think the best and funniest Google Translate fails are those that are relatable, the ones that have some truth to them. And I don’t know about you, but I love to see Batman getting dragged because I just don’t think he qualifies as a superhero.
This translation error brings these two things together beautifully by suggesting that Pikachu when translated from Filipino to English means Batman. I’ve never seen Pikachu and Batman in the same room, have you?
This user probably intended to search for the meaning of the Yoruba word “owo” which translates to Money in English because the word has no literal or figurative meaning in the Igbo language. Still, that is no excuse for this absurd translation that Google Translate provided.
Why would anyone even want to know the price of a person? Is this the 1800s when people were enslaved and traded as chattel?
What’s more, there are no tonal marks suggesting that the repeated words mean something different, so why does Google’s translation interpret each word differently? Smh, right?
This funny Google Translate fail is the result of someone trying to translate the lyrics of the song “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” by Panic! at the Disco in Japanese. As you can see, Google totally bungled the assignment because the meaning of the translated text is different from the original.
In fact, if it were the original lyrics, I’m sure a lot of people would have found it offensive and it would have marred their love for the artist.
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“Se taper le cul par terre” in French means to laugh hysterically or uproariously or to laugh your ass off as the colloquial English goes. However, when you try to translate this phrase from French to English using Google translate, the meaning becomes “Banging ass on the floor.”
Any joke that can make a person bang their ass on the floor has to be the most hilarious ever. I don’t know about you, but I’d pay good money to hear such a joke. Or even just to hear stories of the misunderstandings that went down when people used this translation in real life.
To be fair to Google, the original text in this example is just a meaningless jumble of words that don’t have roots in any language. They just exist in our collective memory and imagination as a part of pop culture and nothing more.
So it kind of makes sense that Google assumes the words were the confused speech of someone recovering from trauma and translated it as such. It’s hilarious, clever, and downright apt.
The word “m***erfu**er” has never rolled off a tongue as smoothly or daringly as when it’s uttered by the prolific actor. Maybe Google Translate was just trying to channel that because that’s the only reason I can come up with for this baffling and hilarious translation fail.
The correct translation for the Chinese phrase should have read “It’s tea time, Nyoya dumpling, do you like it?” But Google Translate decided to spice things up by throwing some curse words in there for our amusement.
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My favorite thing about Google Translate is that it provides equal opportunity errors. It’s just as bad at translating English statements into other languages as it is at converting words from non-English languages into English.
The proof of this is in this example from a company that makes Matcha Green Tea. They wanted to translate feedback from cafes in Finland that use their products into English.
I don’t even speak Finnish, but I know there is no way the Finnish text means what Google translated because it just doesn’t make sense, although it does sound kind of deep.
Sometimes, it seems as though Google Translate doesn’t put in any effort at all, like it simply throws whatever results it can find on the screen and calls it a day. In this example, the user wanted to translate “you asked us to call you back after last Friday” from English to German.
However, the German translation that Google provided means “however we hope to help you with your travel plans.” In what plane of existence are those sentences related? Get it together, Google.
Have you ever been shopping on an international website operating in a language other than English so you had to use Google Translate to understand what the site is actually saying? Well, this person tried it and the result was weird and unsettling.
According to Google Translate, the website sells meal kits prepared with absurd items like shabby shark with beef and cow dung. Who on earth would want to eat that?
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How many times have you bought a snack, juice, or bottle of liquor of foreign origins and tried to translate the language the product description is written in into English? Well, this person gave it a whirl and the result was hilarious.
Apparently, when you drink a bottle of Casillero del Diablo wine, what you’re really drinking is Pigeonholes of Devil—according to Google Translate anyways.
If you’re a tourist or a foreigner in a different country where English isn’t the official language, you might not be familiar with the food options listed on the menu. You might even be tempted—as this person was—to use Google Translate to find out the English names of the meals you ordered.
But don’t be surprised if the result you get is something weird, funny, and incorrect like “shrimp flesh drunk cat.”
It wouldn’t be right to talk about funny Google Translate fails without bringing up one of the most popular examples of this occurrence—the egg fiasco of 2018.
During the Winter Olympics Games in South Korea, the Norwegian Olympics team used Google Translate to order 1500 eggs from a grocery store in the area.
However, much to their surprise and amusement, they received 15,000 eggs instead because the translation had added one more zero to their order.
Although the store let them return a lot of the eggs, the Norwegians were still left with far too many, so they used the extra to prepare meals for other Olympic athletes and officials.
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Google Translate left this user feeling confused and amused when they tried to convert the phrase “a bad day for Europe” from English to Deutsch. The German translation that it provided was almost correct except for the misplaced adjective.
The meaning of the translated text in German became “a good day for Europe” which is the opposite sentiment of what the user wanted to express. So which is it, Google?
Seriously, how does Google Translate do these things and what in the world is a cat and rat anal? All this person wanted to do was find out the meaning behind a Swedish article they came across by translating it into English so they could read it.
To be fair, Google Translate came pretty close to nailing it with this one until things went wrong at the tail end. If only it had replaced the word “anal” with “game,” everything would have been hunky-dory.
Maybe it’s time we crowdfund for therapy for Google Translate so it can sit down with a professional and work through whatever it is going through because this translation got a little too dark. Is everything okay at home, Google?
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The correct answer is nothing, but not according to Google Translate which erroneously translated “grelo” the Galician word for a leafy-green vegetable—broccoli raab—native to Northwestern Spain as the Portuguese word “grelo” which is slang for the clitoris.
This wildly incorrect translation led the Galician town, As Pontes, to invite tourists who visited their website to join them in celebrating “the Fair of the Clitoris Bridges.” The ad went on to sing the praises of the clitoris as one of the staples of Galician cuisine.
All the town wanted to do was advertise their upcoming Broccoli Raab Festival in Castilian Spanish, but Google Translate hilariously turned their innocent plans into something R-rated.
Mordor is the fictional land in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings where Sauron and other evil beings in the fantasy world reside. But according to Google Translate, Russia is Mordor, who knew all along?
In 2016, as a result of a glitch, the translation service translated the Ukrainian word for “Russia” as “Mordor.” It also translated the word for “Russians” as “Occupiers” and the Russian foreign minister’s name “Sergey Lavrov” as “Sad Little Horse.”
So whenever anyone tried to translate any of these words from Ukrainian to Russian, those were the results they would get.
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Google Translate is constantly getting better with time and it can be a useful resource if you’re in a rush and you need to quickly translate short sentences or passages.
However, since it’s a machine translation service and can’t necessarily discern language-specific context, it is prone to errors.
So you need to be mindful when using it because while some mistranslations can be harmless, others can cause a great deal of personal harm or financial damage.
If you must use Google translate, always have a human translator who is well versed in the languages you’re working with proofread and edit the translated text to prevent embarrassing errors.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.