Galician Town Mad At Google Translate Over ‘Clitoris Festival’

A town in Galicia, Spain is planning on taking action against Google Translate after the app mistranslated the name of their popular annual rapini festival to “clitoris festival.”

Google Translate has taken many languages under its wing, but not Galician, it seems. While it can translate Castilian Spanish and Catalan reasonably well, Google has not yet ventured into the language, Galego, spoken by people living in the Galicia region of northern Spain.

According to Mirror Online, the town of As Pontes in Galicia recently advertised on its website the popular annual rapini festival, in which the town’s residents celebrate a leafy green vegetable, similar to spinach. However, people in Galicia speak a mixture of languages, with some using the local Galician language and others the countrywide Castilian Spanish.

When residents in the area visited their website and chose the Castilian Spanish version, automatically translated by Google Translate, they got a bit of a shock. It seems the festival had changed from celebrating a popular vegetable to revering a certain part of a woman’s anatomy instead.

An English version of the Castilian Spanish translation reads, “The clitoris is one of the typical products of Galician cuisine,” which is not quite what the administration of As Pontes wanted to portray.

The Local quotes Monserrat García, a spokeswoman for the municipality of As Pontes, as saying, “Google Translate recognized our Galician word grelo as Portuguese and translated into the Spanish clítoris.”

Google Translate had literally taken the words Feria do grelo (Rapini Festival) and automatically translated them into Feria Clítoris (Clitoris Festival). This naturally caused a fair amount of embarrassment once staff at the local town hall discovered the error.

The region is justifiably proud of its local gastronomy, and the festival has been running since 1981, but now, thanks to the translation on the town’s website it reads as follows, “Since 1981, the festival has made the clitoris one of the star products of the local gastronomy.”

García says they investigated Google Translate and found that it translates any mention of the word “grelos” on their website to clitoris. With the translation app believing Galician to be Portuguese, the word “grelo” automatically gets translated to an archaic Portuguese slang word for “clitoris,” although interestingly enough it does refer to the name of the vegetable in that country as well.

While to most readers, the error made by Google Translate is pretty funny, the Galician town does not find it amusing at all.

“It’s a very serious error on the part of Google and we are thinking about making an official complaint for Google to properly recognize the Galician language so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”

It all goes to show, we shouldn’t take those translations too seriously, as often what is automatically produced doesn’t even make a lot of sense.

It is estimated that more than 2.4 million people speak the Galician language, which is considered to be closely related to Portuguese, due to the region’s geographical position located just north of Portugal.

Google translate

Rapini is a staple vegetable in much of Galician cuisine and is used widely in Portuguese and Italian dishes. Rapini is commonly called broccoli raab or rabe in the United States. The buds of the vegetable do somewhat resemble broccoli but do not form a large head and the edible parts of the plant are the leaves, buds and stems. The vegetable is well known for its slightly bitter taste. In Galicia, rapini is most commonly eaten with cured pork and potatoes and is in no way related to a certain female part.

The annual festival promotes the regional product and is set to take place on February 15th, 2016.

[Photo via Flickr by Laurel F / CC BY-SA 2.0]