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I've noticed with many city names, when I translate a phrase from Spanish to English using Google Translate, it often thinks the city name should be translated to "London." Why London of all places?

A couple examples... Each of the following translate the same:

Voy a guadalajara.
Voy a guanajuato.

Becomes:

I'm going to london.
I'm going to london.

If I properly capitalize the city names, the translation is more correct:

Voy a Guadalajara.
Voy a Guanajuato.

Becomes:

I am going to Guadalajara.
I'm going to Guanajuato.

When I translate:

I'm going to London.

I get:

Me voy a Londres.

And there aren't any other options for "Londres," so this curiosity appears to only happen in one direction.

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Can you elaborate, please? Or give a source. I find it rather strange, to be honest. –  Alex Nov 3 '11 at 20:56
    
None of the above examples have anything to do with your cases, but have it your way. :) –  Alex Nov 3 '11 at 21:46
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1 Answer

up vote 8 down vote accepted

A few months ago, this issue was on TV news and it was also a trending topic in Turkiye. Turkish to English translations of some famous Turkish people were shocking. Here are some examples:

Turkish          English
-----------      --------------
Hande Yener      Marilyn Manson
Ferhat Göçer     Justin Timberlake
Mahmut Tuncer    Jennifer Lopez
Demir Demirkan   Iron Maiden
Edip Akbayram    Slipknot
...              ...

They said it was because of some mischievous collaborators who like abusing Google's translating system through Google Translate API. This got to be the same case for your London example.

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Funny... did the report you saw offer any solutions? Should I be re-training 'guadalajara' to mean 'guadalajara' in some way? :) –  Flimzy Nov 3 '11 at 20:48
    
:) Unfortunately, no. All I heard was it had been a deliberate and planned work by some internet goblins ;) BTW, Google Translate API v1 will be shut off completely on December 1, 2011. If you want to know the details, see this post. –  Mehper C. Palavuzlar Nov 3 '11 at 21:00
    
As long as they keep the Google Translate web interface up (and it sounds like they will), it will continue to serve my purpose of convincing me that I live in London :) –  Flimzy Nov 3 '11 at 21:17
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