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WeChat translates ‘black foreigner’ into racial slur

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Reuters

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WeChat is one in all China’s hottest apps

Chinese messaging app WeChat has apologised after its instrument used the N-word as an English translation for the Chinese for “black foreigner”.

The corporate blamed its algorithms for generating the mistake.

It was once noticed by means of Ann James, a black American residing in Shanghai, when she texted her Chinese colleagues to mention she was once operating overdue.

Ms James, who makes use of WeChat’s translation characteristic to learn Chinese responses, were given the answer: “The [racial slur] is late.”

Horrified, she checked the Chinese word – “hei laowai” – with a co-worker and was once advised it was once a impartial expression, now not a profanity.

WeChat said the mistake to China-focused information website Sixth Tone, pronouncing: “We’re very sorry for the inappropriate translation. After receiving users’ feedback, we immediately fixed the problem.”

The app’s instrument makes use of synthetic intelligence that has been fed massive reams of textual content to assist it select the most efficient translations.

These are in response to context, so it infrequently makes use of insulting words when speaking about damaging occasions.

Local outlet That’s Shanghai examined the app, and located that once used to pray any individual glad birthday, the word “hei laowai” was once translated as “black foreigner”. But when a sentence incorporated damaging phrases like “late” or “lazy,” it produced the racist insult.

Almost a thousand million folks use WeChat, which shall we customers play video games, store on-line, and pay for issues in addition to sending messages. It resembles some other in style chat app, WhatsApp, however is matter to censorship.

A analysis crew on the University of Toronto analysed the phrases blocked on WeChat in March, and located they incorporated “Free Tibet”, “Down with the Communist Party”, and lots of mentions of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was once China’s maximum outstanding human rights suggest.

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