Facebook has issued an apology for translating China’s President Xi Jinping’s name as “Mr. Shithole”. The mistranslation caught people’s attention when Myanmar’s de-facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi wrote a Facebook post in Burmese language confirming Mr. Xi’s time of arrival in the country.
“Mr Shithole, President of China arrives at 4 PM,” the translated Facebook post read.
Facebook currently has no indigenously-built solution for translation, and, therefore, relies entirely on Google. Interestingly enough, unlike Facebook, Google translator correctly translated Aung San Suu Kyi’s Facebook post and that led to people thinking that it’s Facebook that is at fault. Google maintained its silence over the mistranslation debacle and it’s Facebook that issued an apology, which is confirmatory to the fact that it’s Facebook that’s at fault.
“We fixed a technical issue that caused incorrect translations from Burmese to English on Facebook,” Mr. Stone said. “This should not have happened and we are taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”
Facebook along with other global social media platforms is currently banned in China. The Chinese government is in charge of controlling internet content. It can delete as well as ban content that goes against the interest of the state.