Facebook apologises for translating Chinese president’s name to ‘Mr. S**thole’

Marianne Eloise@marianne_eloise
Tuesday 21 January 2020 11:45
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Picture:(Getty)

Earlier this week, the de facto civilian leader of Myanmar noticed that a post about the Chinese president’s visit was translated on her Facebook page with a glaring error.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi realised that President Xi Jinping’s name was in parts translated to “Mr Sh*thole” in English. Google translate did not feature the same mistake.

Releasing a statement, Facebook apologised and said that its system did not have the president’s name in its Burmese database, so the site “guessed” the translation. Facebook found that similar words beginning with “xi” and “shi” generated similar results.

We fixed a technical issue that caused incorrect translations from Burmese to English on Facebook. 

We sincerely apologize for the offense this has caused.

While this mistake did cause confusion and offence, a Burmese language instructor said to the New York Times that he could understand how a machine would make such an error. Luckily, Facebook have fixed the issue so it won’t happen again.

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