The Italianist

Things That Happen in Italy

I did vote for Berlusconi, didn’t I?

with 3 comments

The Italian Newspaper La Repubblica points out an interesting fact about Google Translate. If you type in the sentence “Io ho votato Berlusconi”, Google translates correctly with “I did vote for Berlusconi”.

But if you write “Io non ho votato Berlusconi” (“I did not vote for Berlusconi”), Google gives you the same translation as before: “I did vote for Berlusconi”.

The same happens for translations from many other languages. However, if instead of Berlusconi, a different politician’s name is put in the sentence, Google does translate correctly. More details here.

Willing to improve my English, I just went on Google Translate, and tried myself: however, the mistake pointed out by La Repubblica does not seem to happen. What does happen is, nonetheless, that when you write ‘Berlusconi’, the translation is slightly awkward (“I do not have voted Berlusconi”), whereas it comes up correctly (“I did not vote for X”) with a different name.

Why does Google get things messed up when it comes to him? Who’s been fecking around with the translations of Berlusconi? According to unofficial sources, the Mafia has been hijacking Google Translate, so that people cannot get it right when they write about Berlusconi in other languages, thus undermining the Italian PM’s credibility abroad.

Don’t know what happens with the other languages.


Written by TheItalianist

08/11/2010 at 15:37

Posted in Ma che caz..?

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. interesting… seems as if even Google has a problem with “Berlusconi” !
    Actually I like it if you write “Io non ho votato berlusc” in Italian it translates as “I did not vote Berlusca” …


    08/11/2010 at 15:46

  2. Yes I found that strange too – why just his name? My guess is that someone has tried to fix this as soon as the news came up.. Have you tried other languages?


    08/11/2010 at 15:54

  3. I’m not a French translation expert but for “Io non ho votato Berlusconi” gives “Je n’ai pas voté pour Berlusconi” .. which sounds OK!
    I must admit though that GoogleT does have problems with translating tenses sometimes, and BTW .. I HATE “automatic translation” programmes!!!


    08/11/2010 at 16:19

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