CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Online

Google Translate takes a dig at flat-Earthers

Google Translate won't help you share your flat-Earther identity with French speakers.

In the entirety of human history, nobody has ever fallen off the edge of a flat Earth, because the Earth is round. A small but stubborn group of holdouts still believe the Earth is flat, and while it seems like someone on the Google Translate team wants to call them out, Google says there's actually an error in the translation system.

We spotted the translation anomaly on a Reddit thread dropped in the r/funny discussion group. When you ask Google Translate to translate "I am a flat-Earther" from English into French, it returns with "Je suis un fou." Translate that back to English again and you get "I'm a crazy person." 

Google Translate has an opinion about Flat Earthers.

Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Google Translate has no problem with the individual words. It turns "flat" into "plat" and "Earth" into "terre." 

So far, it seems French may be the only language that makes such an extreme change. If you try this with Spanish, you get "Soy un terrero plano," which Google helpfully translates back as "I am a flat land." 

In German, it gives us "Ich bin ein flacher Erdenmensch," which turns back into "I am a flat-Earth human." At least that's closer to the original intent.

Google says the translation is not an intentional Easter egg. 

"Translate works by learning patterns from many millions of examples of translations seen out on the web," a Google spokesman said. "Unfortunately, some of those patterns can lead to incorrect translations. The error has been reported and we are working on a fix." 

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson blames a failed education system for the rise in people who believe the planet is flat like a pancake. The flat-Earth movement has picked up its pace in recent years fueled by celebrities like musician B.o.B. and the ease of sharing flat-Earth theories across the internet. 

First published May 29 at 8:58 a.m. PT. 
Update, 9:50 a.m. PT: Adds statement from Google.