Microsoft: Sorry for Really Bad Bing Translation

'Daesh' translated to 'Saudi Arabia,' which is definitely not correct
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2016 1:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – Whoops: Microsoft has apologized after its Bing translator mistakenly translated "Daesh," the Arabic name for ISIS, into "Saudi Arabia" in English. Social media users in Saudi Arabia angrily pointed out the error, the Guardian reports, and it quickly went viral. "As an employee of [Microsoft], I apologize personally to the great Saudi people and this country, dear to all our hearts, for this unintentional mistake," the company's VP for Saudi Arabia tweeted.

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Gizmodo reports that the VP further explained to Huffington Post Arabia that Bing uses crowdsourced translations—so, if enough people suggested that "Daesh" should be translated to "Saudi Arabia," the service may have started using that translation. Whatever the cause, "Our product team fixed the error in the automated translation within hours of learning about it," a Microsoft spokesperson tells the Register. (Read more Microsoft stories.)

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