Google's logo is seen at Viva Tech fair in Paris, France. File photo/ Reuters
Hong Kong social media lit up on Friday when protesters noticed Google’s translation software was briefly churning out a rather odd suggestion during a week that has seen the worst political violence to hit the city in decades.
Eagle-eyed Google users discovered that when people entered the phrase “I am sad to see Hong Kong become part of China” the suggested translation in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese converted the word “sad” to “happy.”
“Oh my god, I can’t believe my eyes,” one Facebook user commented under one of the many screen grabs of the false translation that went viral on Friday.
“The app intentionally mistranslates the English to ‘so happy/content’ instead of ‘so sad’,” added student Rachel Wong on Twitter. “I hope Google fixes this.”
When AFP entered the sentence “I am sad to see Hong Kong become part of China” on Friday morning it did show the wrong translation, replacing sad with happy.
Searches involving some other combinations of countries or territories also reproduced the error.
An hour later, a correct translation was showing.
The company’s hugely popular software tool uses complex algorithms and deep learning, as well as allowing users to make suggested translations to improve accuracy.
“Google Translate is an automatic translator, using patterns from millions of existing translations to help decide on the best translation for you,” a spokesman for Google told AFP.
“These automatic systems can sometimes make unintentional mistakes like translating a negative to a positive.”
The international finance hub has been rocked this week by political violence as protesters opposed to a proposed China extradition law clashed with police.
On Thursday, the popular encrypted messaging app telegram, which is being used by protesters to coordinate, announced it had suffered a major cyber-attack that originated from China.Agence France-Presse
Smart speakers add a level of convenience to daily life, but there are also some privacy issues associated with using them. According to a recent report, it’s not just your Alexa smart speaker listening to you — Amazon employees may be listening, too.
Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific announced on Wednesday that it will buy budget airline HK Express for US$628.15 million, as it moves to counter competition from the increasing number of low-cost carriers in the region.
The formal investigation opens a new chapter in the European Union's campaign to address the dominance of US tech firms with Google, Facebook and Apple also regular targets of regulators in Brussels.
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) signed an agreement to encourage and protect investments between the UAE and the Hong Kong Government, as part of the ministry’s efforts to protect the nation’s investments abroad and to attract foreign investments.
President Donald Trump signed his name Wednesday on a newly constructed section of the US-Mexico border wall, calling it a “world-class security system” that will be virtually impenetrable.
Parts from the stricken plane, which was not carrying weapons and was flying from Belgium to a French base on a training mission, crashed into houses in the Morbihan region around the town of Pluvigner. No one on the ground was hurt.
"The pilot and the co-pilot were able to eject before the crash. They were both located and are alive," the office of the state representative for the region said in a statement.
"Pakistan fully supports the kingdom with all its capacities in confronting these sabotage acts," the state news agency cited him as saying during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.