Google Translate is the biggest helper for those who want to communicate with other nationalities, understand terms and explain expressions. Unfortunately, some errors can cause great damage to the colossus name, reducing it to almost nothing in a split second. That’s what happened to Google when their translation service offered as a synonym for “gay” words as “poof”, “fairy”, “dike” and “faggot”. The Google Translate mistake created an anti-homophobic response from the group LGBT (lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender)who, through the site All Out, has petitioned a request in which they asked the engine to use more neutral terms in order to explain the word. The moment Google took track of the mistake, it apologized for the error immediately, saying that the system works automatically, based on translations on the web. In addition, with much appreciation, they thanked everyone for pointing out the issue.
Various people discovered that translating words related to homosexuality into or from English, will lead to homophobic results. Words are usually colloquialisms that are considered homophobic slurs among native speakers. However, searches that were related to racist or sexist facts haven’t been noticed even if some words are translated into the feminine version of the word, or words that would translate to “Asian”, “White”, “Black”.
The languages used in these translations were Spanish, Portuguese and French, in relation with English.
Statements from All Out showed enthusiasm and satisfaction for being able to solve such an embarrassing issue.
„We won! Thanks to our mobilization, Google implemented a fix on Friday to take out anti-gay slurs from its translation tool. This isn’t just about political correctness gone mad. Degrading language feeds negative attitudes and stereotypes. And anti-gay slurs can lead to bullying and attacks on lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.”
The petition of All One gathered 51.000 signatures in less than a day it was out for public reading and signing.
This kind of errors are not a first for Google, as it had problems with a homophobic scent when releasing some games on its Google Play Sore application that were also immediately removed from the system. However, the response that All One and the LGBT group was very prompt. Andre Banks, the executive director of All Out said that Google took it very seriously and was very professional to solve the problem within hours, and not weeks or months, like other similar platforms usually do.
Searching for further details, Google found aut that the Russian translations are the ones that had the vastest number of homophobic slurs, as this is a region with a strong tradition of homophobia.
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