Translation app prompts terror alert in Lisbon

Confuses ‘pomegranate’ with ‘grenade’

A luckless tourist from Azerbaijan found himself surrounded by armed police and ordered to the floor in Caís de Sodré, Lisbon, after a translation app he used to request help in a restaurant confused “pomegranate” with “grenade”.

According to a story in Correio da Manhã today, the man suffered a “sudden indisposition” which led him to entering the Portugália restaurant, in the downtown area of Lisbon, and seeking some kind of sustenance.

A Russian speaker, but with an Israeli passport, the 36-year-old used an app on his mobile phone to write a sentence, in which it seems he was asking for something to do with pomegranate. Possibly a pomegranate juice? Whatever the request, the app translated the Russian for pomegranate into the Portuguese ‘grenade’, which immediately set the waiter on alert.

Says the paper, aware of the country’s heightened terror threat, the waiter contacted PSP police, who arrived exceptionally quickly and in force.

A video recorded by an eye-witness has been carried on CMTV.

Suffice it to say, the Azerbaijani tourist was hand-cuffed, and must have been terrified. He was escorted to a nearby police station as authorities went on to search his accommodation (a hostel in Lisbon), where they found nothing incriminating.

The tourist has been freed – and he may opt in future for a Portuguese phrasebook, instead of an app.ND