This morning on Twitter, I saw that Google had decided to replace Catalan placenames with crazy, sometimes random, translations into Spanish. The hashtag #googlecat has quickly become a TT (trending topic) on Twitter as people around Catalonia are outraged that Google has decided to call Catalan places however they like.
Pretty incredible. You, dear non-Catalan reader, might think it's much ado about nothing, really, how much difference is there between "Plaça Catalunya" and "Plaza de Cataluña"? Who cares? But there are very large issues here, which I hope to address one by one.
First, the names of streets, squares, and roads are all in Catalan in Catalonia. If you're looking for a street, the only street sign you will find will be in Catalan. Google Maps won't do a fat lot of good to you if it's giving you a translation into Spanish. For example, one of the streets near my apartment is “Carrer de Sant Domènec" (or Saint Dominic street) but Google has it labeled as "Calle de San Domingo".
(Then, there's the added weirdness that you can't actually say "San Domingo", it would be "Santo Domingo".) There are many, many other bizarre translations. Things like "Verga María" [Cock Mary] (and I don't mean roosters) for "Verge Maria" [Virgin Mary]. Or changing the name of the town, “Sant Boi de Llobregat” into "San Baudillo de Llobregat".
Think it won't matter, that Catalan and Spanish are "close enough"? Try "Calle del Oxidado" instead of "Carrer Rovellat". Or "Rambla de la Colina" instead of "Rambla del Turó". Let's just say I wouldn't rely on Google Maps to get around Catalonia any more.
Vilaweb was finally able to get a first explanation from Google Spain about the problem. “The problem has to do with a database that was supplied by a third party and the technicians are working on updating it."
Ultimately, to Catalans who are continually feeling mistreated by the Spanish government, who will not stand up for the Catalan language in Spain, the European parliament or anywhere else, it feels like a crass political move by Google. Perhaps it's just a technical error, but I just don't have that faith anymore.
Interesting that names in English have not been translated into Spanish, as in Plaça John Lennon, which turned into "Plaza John Lennon" but not "Plaza Juan Lennon".
Check into Twitter and follow #googlecat to see egregious examples and anger. Follow Vilaweb for the latest news.
Thank you for this report! Hopefully this problem whit these ridiculous translations will be solved soon.ReplyDelete
Gràcies per una explicació tan didàctica!ReplyDelete
"Perhaps it's just a technical error, but I just don't have that faith anymore."ReplyDelete
Yeah good point. Much more likey that the Spanish infiltrated the database and changed all Catalan names to Spanish ones. It's just the sort of thing they'd do!
Don't ever forget the everyone in the whole world is out to destroy Catalonia and that genuine mistakes never ever happen. Always jump on the slightest mistake and call it out for what it really is: hatred of Catalans!
Keep up the good work.
With Catalan representing so few of the world, we are thankful Google translate it. Probably at a big loss. But do wish it could be better.
Helping to improve it, via the available option, may be a worthwhile investment for the local government and bi-lingual Catalan/English speakers.
Listening to an English sat nav say the street names is funny.