Amazon has launched its latest international site in Sweden. But the retail giant seems to have cut slightly too many corners when it came to finding a translator.
Rather than pay a Swedish speaker to go through its endless list of products, Amazon appears to have used a computer translation program to do the job – with hilarious results.
Because the word for rooster is quite similar to kuk, the Swedish slang term for penis, an embroidery pattern with a cockerel design was listed as “cross-stitch for adults – big dick, do it yourself”.
Similarly, a stopcock tap was labelled “finish, dickhead”.
Somewhat topically, in the age of lockdown, the Nintendo Switch’ games console was translated as the Nintendo “Circuit Breaker.”
Oilseed rape, the agricultural crop, also presented some problems for the translation program. So Amazon was apparently trying to sell its Swedish customers mouse mats, jigsaws and shower curtains decorated with “sex assault flowers.”
A piece of fishing tackle was also listed as suitable for “roach, barr, sexual assault”.
Further investigation of Amazon Sweden revealed a plastic toy armoured car described as a “Star Wars grievous bodily harm tank” and a pair of pearl earrings which were – somewhat problematically – described as being suitable for “European prostitutes.”
Mystifyingly, the description for a silicone rubber baking mould said it was suitable for “chocolate, faeces, goose water and bread”.
Eyebrows were also raised at a frying pan was that was described as suitable for women. No translation error could account for the swastika-covered shower curtain.
Amazon told Swedish news channel SVT that the website was very much a work in progress. “We would like to thank everyone highlighting these problems and helping us to make changes and improve Amazon.se,” a spokesperson said.
She added: “We’re very pleased to have launched Amazon.se but this is only our second day and we are always keen to improve the customer experience.”