Google appears to have resolved an unfortunate gaffe with its online translation service which incorrectly translated:
“I am sad to see Hong Kong become part of China"
“I am happy to see Hong Kong become part of China".
Users noticed that the mistranslation occurred when attempting to translate from English to both Chinese simplified and Chinese traditional options, amid tensions in the former British colony over a bill allowing suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.
The bill is seen as a tightening of Beijing's control over the territory, leading to hundreds of thousands of activists taking to the streets of Hong Kong in protest.
Users noticed an error on Google Translate and began highlighting it on Twitter, leading Google's public search liaison Danny Sullivan to respond, saying the company was looking into how the mistake happened and that technicians were working on a fix.
@TheBaseLeg @Google We're looking into why we had this translation and expect to have a fix to resolve it soon.— Danny Sullivan (@Danny Sullivan) 1560487104.0
The company also issued a statement, admitting that its automatic systems:
“can sometimes make unintentional mistakes".
“Google Translate is an automatic translator, using patterns from millions of existing translations to help decide on the best translation for you."
“These automatic systems can sometimes make unintentional mistakes like translating a negative to a positive."
“We appreciate feedback and we are working on improving the technology."
After hearing about this, I typed this into Google Translate. "So sad to see Hong Kong become part of China" in Eng… https://t.co/3byHrbSqHA— Rob Schmitz 史明智 (@Rob Schmitz 史明智) 1560482049.0
So I just tried it and it's true... When you type so *sad* to see Hong Kong become a part of China into @Google tr… https://t.co/Dbg9aNrGcg— Amber Tong (@Amber Tong) 1560483068.0
Hey @Google can you explain why when I typed this into Google translate, the translation says the exact opposite???… https://t.co/yF7evzKEJR— Renos ▶︎ (@Renos ▶︎) 1560438700.0
This is nuts: Google Translate literally changes “sad” to “happy,” changing the entire meaning of the sentence on H… https://t.co/zry7BKLy9G— Kristina Wongsgiving 🦃🇺🇸 (@Kristina Wongsgiving 🦃🇺🇸) 1560481837.0
On Wednesday, a cyber attack hit messaging app Telegram, which its founder Pavel Durov said originated from “mostly Chinese IP addresses".
We’re currently experiencing a powerful DDoS attack, Telegram users in the Americas and some users from other count… https://t.co/4CqS46ewQt— Telegram Messenger (@Telegram Messenger) 1560338452.0
A DDoS is a “Distributed Denial of Service attack”: your servers get GADZILLIONS of garbage requests which stop the… https://t.co/GIBxAJxBKG— Telegram Messenger (@Telegram Messenger) 1560339753.0
The server is busy telling the whopper lemmings they came to the wrong place – but there are so many of them that t… https://t.co/CPBEversCv— Telegram Messenger (@Telegram Messenger) 1560339900.0
To generate these garbage requests, bad guys use “botnets” made up of computers of unsuspecting users which were in… https://t.co/hFLKbgxFnK— Telegram Messenger (@Telegram Messenger) 1560340372.0
There’s a bright side: All of these lemmings are there just to overload the servers with extra work – they can’t ta… https://t.co/cBWZVmPa69— Telegram Messenger (@Telegram Messenger) 1560340601.0
@DefTechPat @telegram IP addresses coming mostly from China. Historically, all state actor-sized DDoS (200-400 Gb/s… https://t.co/9iIwXvD7ak— Pavel Durov (@Pavel Durov) 1560380092.0
Communication apps such as Telegram, which use encryption to secure messages, are often used by activists to organize protests. Telegram is blocked in mainland China.
Mr Durov said that the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack was “state actor-sized" and “coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong".
Shortly after the attack, the platform confirmed its systems had stabilized and user data was safe.