Amazon’s launch of a Swedish retail site, its first in a Nordic country, has caused embarrassment at the e-commerce company after a series of errors led to confusing, nonsensical, and occasionally vulgar product listings.
Amazon mixed up the Argentine and Swedish flags, labelled frying pans as items for women, allowed the sale of a swastika-emblazoned shower curtain, and described a silicone baking mold as suitable for “chocolate, feces, goose water, and bread.”
The mistakes were so numerous that some Swedes began to speculate that they were a deliberate public relations stunt. However, many of the errors appear to have resulted from the use of a machine translation program that struggled to cope with the multiple meanings of English words such as “rape,” “trunks,” and “cock.” For example, the word valdtakt, which means “rape” in Swedish, was used in the descriptions of several products instead of raps, the correct Swedish word for a plant.
The errors drew additional criticism because of the high rate of English literacy in Sweden. “Clapping for everyone at Amazon involved in the genius decision of doing garbage machine translation for 95+% of the site from a language that most people in Sweden can understand,” tweeted Jake Shadle, a Stockholm-based games developer.
“We want to thank everyone for highlighting these issues and helping us make the changes and improve Amazon.se,” a spokesperson for the company said. “If anyone spots any issues with product pages, please use the link on the page to provide feedback and we will make the necessary changes.”
Read Full Article from The Guardian (10/30/20)
Author: Alex Hern
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