Recently, this question was posted on Writing.SE in Vietnamese. The little Google Translate pop-up box:

enter image description here

gave me an option to translate the page to English, which I did.

I could then read the question and see that it was 100% spam, but some non-Vietnamese parts of the page got translated in a weird way. For example, view the below screenshot:

enter image description here

You can see that:

  • some numbers were written out in word form (occurred in several other places apart from the ones showed in the screenshot)

  • some words were translated from English to Vietnamese (such as the follow button, and in a couple of other places)

When I exited and re-entered the page, the glitch was gone, but I tried the translation button again for the question and the exact same thing happened.

I am not sure if this is on Google Translate's page translate button or on SE.

What happened here and can this be fixed?

  • 9
    That's not really a flaw with SE - mixed language translation is tricky and it probably saw a word that looked vietnamese.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 12 '21 at 3:41
  • @JourneymanGeek it saw the number "1" (amount of gold badges on that site) and translated it. Why? Only Google knows, and not related at all so SE. (Voted to close this question as off topic.) Mar 18 '21 at 10:19

I'd say that this is out of SE's remit to fix - While google (?)'s translation system is pretty good... your browser (correctly) determined most of the page was Vietnamese, treated the mixed language text as Vietnamese and very dutifully translated 1 to "first" - as your gold badge count and very amusingly transliterated follow to theo doi, presumably the closest phonetic equivalent - presumably cause it ... got confused.

I think we're safe from the dangers of AI for at least a little while.

There's nothing SE can do (IMO) since all the issues are translation side from google.

  • 1
    It’s not true there’s nothing they can do. Anything solely composed of numbers could be marked as something that shouldn’t be translated. See stackoverflow.com/a/57165402/6083675
    – Laurel
    Mar 12 '21 at 12:17
  • 1
    plausibly but that's a workaround for translating an english site from another language to english... and blocking translation presumably might break other things. And there's probably a bunch of ever -changing edge cases to this
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 12 '21 at 12:24

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