If the news pretty reliably makes you seize up every morning, and perspective is critical, we draw your attention to the launch of Amazon Sweden. It has gone comically badly, thanks to that banana peel of the modern world, the less-than-stellar computer translation program. Among the blunders being reported in the press are: describing a baking mold as suitable for “chocolate, faeces, goose water and bread”; translating a video game called Need for Speed: Payback as “Do You Require Speed: Refund”; and pitching one toy as a “Star Wars grievous bodily harm tank” and an Adidas jersey as a “child sexual assault” football shirt. “Some of the errors were more offensive,” noted The Times of London. “The word for a cockerel was often translated as kuk, a faintly vulgar word for penis. Thus an embroidery pattern depicting a rooster became ‘cross-stitch for adults—big dick, do it yourself.’” Amazon also managed to confuse the Swedish and Argentine flags.
Surely this all could have been avoided. Swedish-American commercial cross-pollination can be a beautiful thing. Stateside, for instance, we placidly wander Ikea for days on end—lost and dehydrated, it’s true, but in a pinch still able to explain the difference between a Koppang and a Knarrevik. For now, Amazon is thanking everyone for pointing out errors and inviting more corrections: “It is only day one for us here in Sweden, and we are committed to constantly improving the customer experience.” Or, to put that into language we can all understand, “Our Kingdom of Sweden epoch is at the initial only, and we are persistently perking up the frequenter escapades.”