What will we ever do without online translation services, right?
They are so helpful, especially when you're travelling in a foreign country and you don't speak the language.
Then again, this is a fine example of why you shouldn't entirely trust AI translation.
On 17 January, Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Myanmar for an official two-day visit - his first visit to the country in almost 20 years.
On the second day of the visit, a terrible, absolutely horrendous translation job happened.
According to a report by tech site Gizmodo
, Facebook’s automatic translation feature translated Xi's name as “Mr Sh*thole
To make matters even more embarassing, the translation appeared on civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s officially Facebook page.
“Mr Sh*thole, President of China arrives at 4PM,” said a translated announcement posted on Jan 18.
“President of China, Mr. Sh*thole, signed a guest record of the house of representatives,” it further read.
On top of that, news agency Reuters
reported that a headline from a local news site was translated to: “Dinner honors president sh*thole.”
And yes, in case you're wondering, it was quite a sh*tstorm.
How did it happen?
Acting promptly on the matter, Facebook apologised on the ‘technical error’, telling Reuters
that its system did not have Xi’s name in its Burmese database and therefore, it guessed at the translation.
Translation tests of similar words that start with “xi
” and “shi
” in Burmese also produced “shithole”, Facebook added.
“We fixed a technical issue that caused incorrect translations from Burmese to English on Facebook.
“This should not have happened and we are taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We sincerely apologise for the offense this has caused,” Facebook wrote in the statement.
Well, this is probably adds to another reason why China banned Facebook.