Microsoft was left red-faced last week after its Bing Translator’s major goof-up outraged the entire Saudi Arabian community.
Apparently, when users typed Arabic word ‘Daesh’ into Bing Translate, the words “Saudi Arabia” would appear as the English translation, reported The Guardian. For your information, Daesh is a highly insulting name in Arabic for the so-called ISIS caliphate and thus the users were visibly vexed.
BING JUST TRANSLATED ISIS TO SAUDI ARABIA pic.twitter.com/pPFBuUNAeJ
— misanthrope (@classicsock) August 24, 2016
As soon as news spread on social media, angry users launched a campaign in Saudi Arabia calling for a boycott of Microsoft and its products. They even accused it of racism.
Microsoft officials claim that as soon as they were alerted to the problem they changed the translation. The Microsoft Corporation has also formally issued an apology to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, calling the error “unintentional”.
Commenting on the issue, Dr Mamdouh Najjar, VP and national technology officer for Microsoft in Saudi Arabia said, that the error occurred because Bing Translator has a crowd-sourcing function. If a large group of people (he estimated over a thousand) suggest a translation, then it becomes listed as a possible answer.