From Iceland — Lost In Google Translation: Save Our... Rhinos?

Lost In Google Translation: Save Our… Rhinos?

Published April 9, 2021

Lost In Google Translation: Save Our… Rhinos?
Photo by
Screenshot / Visir

In what may be a bizarre surprise to many of you, Iceland now has rhinos!

This completely blew us away at Grapevine HQ! We were ready to go on safari. Our photographer was fiddling around with his lens’ trying to figure out which would be best for capturing megafauna, Valur was desperately trying to contain Polly’s excitement about making a new interspecies friendship and I was damn ready to go see myself a rhino! But we stopped, paused and thought for a moment before hopping in the GrapevineMobile and realised our old friend Google Translate had pulled a fast one on us. Our disappointment was immeasurable and frankly, our day was ruined.

The article is in fact not based on our horny friends but actually refers to killer whales, orcas, that do often swim the seas around Iceland, snacking on any unfortunate mammal or fish they happen upon. In short, there’s this old persistent substance called polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) which were banned years ago due to the harmful effects against humans and now they’re harming our underwater buddies.

But why would Google Translate mistake a highly deadly swimming killing beast with a highly deadly running-in-a-straight-line beast? Well, it’s not as simple as we thought. The word for a killer whale is ‘háhyrningur’ whereas the word for a rhino is ‘nashyrningur’; the similarities between the words clearly being the ‘hyrningur’ part So yeah, no rhinos in Iceland… for now.

If you want to read the article in its entirety, you could find it here.

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