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China’s biggest messaging app accidentally translates ‘black foreigner’ to the N-word

Picture: HOW HWEE YOUNG/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

WeChat, China’s largest messaging app, has apologised for a gaffe, the place it translated the phrase “black foreigner” to the N-word.

The error was first spotted by Ann James, an American residing in Shanghai. She translated an incoming Chinese language message into English, which produced the textual content: “The n****r’s nonetheless late.”

The unique Chinese language message used a extra impartial time period, hei laowai, or “black foreigner.”

(Editor’s observe: The language within the screenshot under has been obscured because of its offensive nature)   

WeChat rectified the error inside 24 hours, however the firm told Chinese language outlet Sixth Tone that the interpretation was based mostly on its neural machine studying engine, that picked up the time period from broader utilization.

WeChat, which has an enormous base of over 900 million customers, has been capable of translate messages in-app since 2014. It depends on a mixture of translation sources, together with its personal AI engine, and third events like Microsoft Translator.

The error is harking back to different translation engines which have tried to study from analysing large knowledge. In August, two Chinese language chatbots — one created by Microsoft — had been taken down after they began posting unpatriotic content in regards to the authorities.

Final 12 months, one other Microsoft chatbot, Tay, was pulled after it began tweeting racist and crude messages.

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