By: Earnest Jones | 12-01-2017 | News
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Google Translate Blasted as Sexist When Translating Gender-Neutral Languages to English

Google translate users have taken to Twitter to raise their concerns over Google's sexist translations in its Translate tool.

It turns out that while the tool is translating phrases from gender-neutral languages including Turkish and Finnish, it gave male pronouns to certain professions, such as leader, police, and engineer.

On the other hand, female pronouns were given to jobs including secretary, nanny, and nurse. It remains unclear as to why this bias comes up, and Google is yet to respond to requests for comment. This comes up amidst Google Translates’ capability to translate over 100 languages.

However, problems to do with translating gender-neutral languages have been noticed by several users this week. One of the first users to highlight the issue was Alex Shams, a writer at the University of Chicago.

Shams tweeted: 'Turkish is a gender-neutral language. There is no 'he' or 'she' - everything is just 'o'. But look what happens when Google translates to English.'

He went ahead and posted a screengrab of various translations from Google Translate, in which the tool had automatically assigned genders to different phrases. The male pronouns were given to professions including engineers, doctors, and soldiers, while female pronouns were assigned to cooks, nurses and teachers.

A lover was deemed to be female while a friend was deemed to be male. And someone who was married was given a 'she' pronoun, while someone who was single was given a 'he' pronoun.

This issue isn't limited to Turkish.

Taika Dahlbom, a writer from Finland, tweeted a response to Mr Shams' saying: 'Look how Google Translate does sexism!

'Finnish has a gender-neutral third-person pronoun. But Google decides if a job title is good to go with the male or the female English third-person pronoun.' She also posted a list like Mr. Shams', with similar results to the Turkish translations proving that the issue is a major concern.


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