Poor translations to german for many species

Hi, I found that many species seem to have a poor translation to german. E.g. sperm whale is translated as “Pottfisch”, which is just wrong, it must be “Pottwal”. “Great white shark” is translated to “Menschfresser”, which is either a very uncommon name or just wrong, the correct name would be “Weißer Hai”. For the Orca there is the correctly translation “Großer Schwertwal” but in the list of common other names there is also the name “Schwertfisch”, which is not only wrong but also just a completely different species. Unfortunately it is this name that is harvested by onezoom, so it really should be removed as well.
I wonder how it is possible that even for these very well known species there is such a poor quality for the translations?
Is it possible as user like me to correct these names?

Thank you for reporting, @aquadraht !

I see you’ve found your way into the names tab, so you have seen the wide variety of names and the suite of sources that provide them. Overall, our largest provider of common names is wikidata; however, all the problematic names that you mention were provided by the World Register of Marine Species, which surprises me. That is a very reputable source for taxonomic data, though admittedly, vernacular names are not their focus.

There should be a vernacular-name-select tool for logged in EOL users, but I’m afraid it’s not reliable. We haven’t had a large community interested in this work, so fixing it hasn’t been a priority. In any case, it doesn’t sound like this would address the problem on OneZoom, as the names appearing there are not always the “preferred” ones. If you believe the problem is widespread, then it sounds like we should consider filtering out the German vernaculars from the World Register of Marine Species data that we receive. It looks like they have relied on a “very wide net” source for those. Normally I would hesitate to take such a sweeping step, but since there is another source with good coverage available (wikidata) I expect it will do little harm. The filter should take effect with our next update of their data, within a month.

If you are inspired, of course, it would also be worth alerting the World Register of Marine Species to the problem. They do welcome feedback: WoRMS - World Register of Marine Species


Hi Jen,
thanks for you quick response. As I am not any expert in this field, it is hard for me to judge how widespread this problem is, especially for lesser known species. On OneZoom I saw some more confusing names in the whales section. So I see two times whale called “Braunfisch”, which sounds quite wrong. But when I click on their link to Wikipedia or Encyclopedia of Life I see proper names (e.g. Hevyside Delfin) and the name “Braunfisch” does not appear at all. So there seems to be a problem on OneZoom as well that they do not properly fetch the names from EOL.
Nevertheless, from my point of view, not using the World Register of Marine Species and relying on Wikidata for the german names seems to be a good approach, as I never observed any bad names in Wikipedia.
I also contacted World Register of Marine Species and told them about the problem.