Google has received plenty of criticism for its Google Translate homophobic bug that allowed translations to some languages to feature homophobic slurs. Google has been petitioned by LGBT groups through AllOut.org and it appears that it worked as Google has fixed its Google homophobic bug and it also issued an apology for the distress the bug may have caused people.
This Google homophobic bug isn’t Google Translate’s only bug, but it was one of its most flagrant. The bug was found after some people had noticed that when they translating neutral words pertaining to homosexuality in foreign languages, the English equivalent were often homophobic slurs, words that native speakers consider homophobic and insensitive. As a comparison, neutral words referring to race or gender did not yield any racist or sexist words.
For example, ‘гей’, which is the Russian word for homosexual, has been giving results such as pansy boy, fag, fairy, queen, faggot, sodomite and. Portugese, French and Spanish are also producing similar results.
The Google homophobic bug garnered a lot of attention, especially since Google Translate is used by around 500 million people worldwide. The petition was signed by a whopping 51,634 people, which managed to get Google’s attention. A spokesperson addressed the issue, saying that the bug originated from crowdsourcing, which means that the homophobic words were added there by homophobic people, not by Google.
The spokesperson added that as soon as the company was informed that Google Translate was yielding some homophobic words, they immediately began to remedy the issue. Google apologized for any offense that it may have caused people and added that their
[…] systems produce translations automatically based on existing translations on the web, so we appreciate when users point out issues such as this.
Google is quite progressive when it comes to lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender rights, as it puts up Google Doodles and quotes on its home page quite often. This shows a lot of support for the LGBT community and their 2012 campaign called Legalize Love supported gay marriage in the U.S. and urged foreign countries to decriminalize homosexuality.
Google even has its own LGBT folks, called Gayglers, who are LGBT employees of Google. The company is also a sponsor for pride parades in New York, Dublin and San Francisco.
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