Resurrection in Herzliya

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News sources around the world reported recently on a tragedy — "Officials: Chinese Ambassador to Israel Found Dead in Home", Associated Press 5/17/2020:

JERUSALEM — The Chinese ambassador to Israel was found dead in his home north of Tel Aviv on Sunday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said.

Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the ambassador's death was believed to be from natural causes.

Du Wei, 58, was appointed envoy in February in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. He previously served as China’s envoy to Ukraine. He was found dead at the ambassador's official residence in Herzliya.

But if you read it on Israel Hayom (or other Hebrew sources) via Google Translate, you'll get a different picture:

Though Google's translation of the subhead might clue you in that there's more to the story:

In this case, Bing gets it pretty much right:

Baidu sends the honorable Du Wei off to Brazil, but at least omits the resurrection:

The obligatory screenshot:

I should make it clear that the problem is a weird output from Google Translate, not false reporting in the Hebrew-language press.


  1. D. L. Gold said,

    May 20, 2020 @ 3:39 pm

    I've just now used Google Translate to translate

    נמצא ללא רוח חײם
    and it gave 'found without hot wind'.

    It thus took the last word, meaning 'life', as the Hebrew for 'hot'. The two Hebrew words are spelled similarly.

  2. Yuval said,

    May 20, 2020 @ 5:22 pm

    There's the matter of the word for life, חיים, being part of the common phrase for delicate reporting, and also the ambiguity of נמצא as either "was found" or "is (in a state of)", but there's no reasonable excuse I can think of for the translation models ignoring the very clear, unambiguous, common ללא, "without", in ללא רוח חיים "without life spirit".

  3. Jon Weinberg said,

    May 20, 2020 @ 5:51 pm

    In the sentence
    שגריר סין בישראל נמצא ללא רוח חיים בביתו
    if you delete *any* single word of the last six, the Google translation turns out OK. E.g., delete בביתו "in his home," and you get
    שגריר סין בישראל נמצא ללא רוח חיים
    China's ambassador to Israel found dead
    or delete בישראל "in Israel," and you get
    שגריר סין נמצא ללא רוח חיים בביתו
    The Ambassador of China is without a breath of life in his home

  4. Coby Lubliner said,

    May 21, 2020 @ 1:20 pm

    By sheer coincidence I have just finished using GT for a translation from English into Hebrew, which I then used (with some slight editing) to send an email message in Hebrew — since I have no simple way of writing in Hebrew — and I found it quite good.

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