From Iceland — Lost In Google Translation: Writer Refusing To Leave Home

Lost In Google Translation: Writer Refusing To Leave Home

Lost In Google Translation: Writer Refusing To Leave Home

Published October 8, 2021

Reetta Huhta
Photo by
Magnús Hlynur Hreiðarsson/Vísir

According to a headline on Vísir, a writer from Westman Islands refuses to leave their home. This may seem like a wise decision—after all, the fall is slowly but surely creeping up on us. Why would anyone in their right mind want to go out, when there’s a possibility to curl up on a sofa, cover yourself with cozy blankets and enjoy a cup of your favorite fall beverage—as long as it’s not a pumpkin spice latte; you don’t want to be that big of a cliché.

As the Icelandic winter draws in we’re reaching for our comfy traditional lopapeysa sweaters, the beautiful woollen garments which have been keeping Icelanders warm for generations. They’re available for international delivery through our online shop, and ours are hand-knitted right here in Iceland from local wool.

But then you start to wonder, what if this mysterious writer has other reasons to stay indoors besides the changing seasons? Maybe they belong to a risk group and are afraid of catching COVID? Perhaps their OCD is getting the best of them? For all we know, the writer might be a real life Vitalstatistix, the village leader from Asterix & Obelix, who is famously afraid that the sky may fall on his head.

Upon taking a closer look at the article, it comes to light that the main character isn’t actually a writer but a bird called “rita” in Icelandic. Apparently Google Translate isn’t that familiar with our feathered friends, since it only knows the homonym verb “að rita”, meaning “to write”. Thus, a bird became a writer.

It appears that only birds have the audacity to refuse stepping out of their homes. According to Grapevine’s sources, us humans—whether we’re writers or not—must still continue visiting the outside world.

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