I heard about this on a Russian blog. Then on another Russian blog. Then on one more. I thought it was a joke but then I tried it myself and discovered that it was true.
It turns out that when you enter the sentence “Putin will not become the President of Zimbabwe / China / France / Spain, etc.” in Russian, the Google Translator translates it correctly (although it confuses the future tense and the past). When, however, you enter the sentence “Putin will not become the President of Russia” it is translated as “Putin has become the President of Russia.”
Here is how the translation looks:
I translated sentences “Putin will not become the President of America” and “Putin will not become the President of Russia.” You don’t need to understand Cyrillic characters to see that the only difference in the original sentences is the last word (the name of the country.) The translation, though, misses the word “not” when Russia is mentioned. I tried it several times and the Google Translator keeps translating the sentence well until you start adding the word “Russia.” Is that cool or what?
Of course, since I used to be a specialist in machine translation, I know why this happens and it doesn’t scare me. 🙂 Some people have been freaking out, though. Does anybody care to venture a guess as to why this happens?
P.S. I never give links to Russian websites where I find my information about Russia. I don’t do it because I don’t want to get dumped on yet again for providing links to non-English-language sources and it bores me to give endless disclaimers. Are there people who want these links to blogs in RUSSIAN? In any case, here is one of the places where this phenomenon was described (in Russian).