From Iceland — Lost In Google Translation: Famous Swamp Dwellers

Lost In Google Translation: Famous Swamp Dwellers

Published February 10, 2022

Lost In Google Translation: Famous Swamp Dwellers
Josie Gaitens
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Iceland has had its fair share of celebrity visitors over the years; Justin Bieber got his kit off in a glacial lagoon, Kim K ate a hot dog at Bæjarins Beztu and Ed Sheeran played a concert that a staggering 14% of the population attended. But of all of the superstar tourists that Iceland can boast of, there’s only one who we seem to have driven to the brink of absolute madness.

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Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It

Enter Will Smith, or more accurately, this headline about him on the website of Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið. The article seems to claim that ‘Big Willy’ was so frustrated while filming his documentary ‘Welcome To Earth’ in Iceland that he went a bit feral, and ended up in an ‘Icelandic swamp’. To make matters even more confusing, further into the column it’s claimed that Mr. Smith actually published a video of himself ‘fighting’ the aforementioned swamp. All of this raises a number of questions. Is the swamp sentient? Can it indeed be fought? Have we somehow witnessed a bizarre extraterrestrial interaction and are about to be neuralyzed by one of Agent J’s Men In Black colleagues any sec–

I, Translation Robot

Well, perhaps not. It turns out that this is less a case of alien invasion, and more some harmless robots messing up menial tasks for humans. Google translate took one look at the word ‘mý,’ and decided that it was meant to say ‘mýri,’ which translates to swamp. In reality ‘mý’ is short for ‘mýflugur’ –the annoying midge-like flies that are growing in numbers all over the country. While they do indeed congregate in marshy areas, it’s good to know that Will was just trying to fight them, and not an entire wetland.

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