On Twitter, John Lewis shared a prime example of the perils of global search-and-replace: what happens when "km" gets expanded to "kilometres" in an edition of Trivial Pursuit.
Trivial Pursuit makers change all mentions of "km" to "kilometres" as a universal find and change. Can't see what could go wrong there. pic.twitter.com/956hYeJw3B
— John Lewis (@JohnELewis) January 3, 2017
(This card showed up about a week ago on Reddit, where it appeared in a photo taken from a slightly different angle. It looks legitimate — not a Photoshop job or anything.)
More examples of search-and-replace follies from the Language Log archives:
- "Incorrections in the newsroom: Cupertino and beyond" (BZ, 2/1/08)
- "U.S. sprinter undergoes search-and-replace" (BZ, 7/1/08)
- "More clbuttic idiocy from lexical censors on the web" (GKP, 9/2/08)
- "Walter Leland Mr. Cronkite" (BZ, 7/17/09)
- "Oops: a listening guide" (BZ, 6/28/10)
- "'It was as if a light had been Nookd…'" (BZ, 6/1/12)
- "Particitrousers of the revolutionary movement" (BZ, 9/17/15)
Some of the examples that have come up on Language Log ("Tyson Homosexual," "clbuttic," "particitrousers") got mentioned in the thread of comments following John Lewis's tweet. One example mentioned on Twitter also came up in the comments on the 6/1/12 "Nookd" post: when "crib" gets changed to "cot" in books or websites about baby care (in an attempt to turn American English copy into British or Australian English), "described" turns into "descoted."
— tja thurman (@tjathurman) January 3, 2017
(That example comes from an Australian Fisher-Price site.)