Danish place names, translated by Google

Some geographical analogies

During the years I lived in Denmark, I often used Google Translate for news articles. Since Danish has relatively simple grammar that is not too dissimilar from that of English, and also tends towards short sentences without a lot of complex clauses, machine translation does pretty well. But sometimes it makes mistakes. Since Google Translate is based purely on statistical machine learning applied to language corpora, it sometimes comes up with things that are more like "analogies" than "translations", where a proper noun in the source language might be used in similar context to a completely different proper noun in the target language, and thus erroneously gets chosen as a "translation" of the proper noun. And some of those are humorous.

Below are some machine-invented "placename analogies" I collected over the years, mostly from around 2013–2015.

Billund is a small town in Jutland, primarily known as the headquarters of Lego. English translation: London. (This translation sponsored by the Billund Tourist Office.)

Bornholm is an island considerably to the east of the rest of Denmark, off the Swedish coast. English translation: grandfather clock. (Bornholm was in fact once famous for its production of grandfather clocks.)

Brøndby is a western suburb of Copenhagen. English translation: Red Sox. (This is probably due to the presence of popular football club Brøndby IF.)

Hillerød is a town north of Copenhagen, now part of the Copenhagen metropolitan area. English translation: Whatfield. (Whatfield is a tiny village in Suffolk, England. I don't know how to explain this one.)

Køge is a town south of Copenhagen, now also in the Copenhagen metropolitan area. English translation: prostitute.

Odense is the main city of Funen, the island situated between Jutland and the larger island of Zealand (where Copenhagen resides). English translation: Kentucky.

Silkeborg is a medium-sized town located in the center of Jutland. English translation: Buffalo, NY.

And a bonus Swedish one:

Västra Götalands län is a county on the west coast of Sweden, whose largest city is Gothenburg. English translation: California.