Microsoft Bing translates Taiwan ‘president’ into ‘regional leader'

Discrepancies were found between Google, Bing Mandarin to English translations

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(Bing Translator screenshot)

(Bing Translator screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Microsoft's Bing Translator appears to be incorrectly translating the word “president” in some instances when it is mentioned in a sentence or headline about Taiwan when going from traditional Chinese to English.

Bing Translator was found to have translated “president” as “regional leader,” “leader” or omitted the word altogether when rendering entire sentences or headlines referring to Taiwan.

After inputting a story about Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) planning to attend President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration, Bing Translator interpreted “總統” (president) into “regional leader."

In a later paragraph where the word "總統" was used four times, it was correctly translated the first time but then left out for the second and third references. On the fourth mention, it was translated into “leader.”

Translation inaccuracies in Bing translation

Issues were also discovered when translating a traditional Chinese headline “蔡總統就職” (President Tsai takes office) into English. Bing Translator interpreted it as “Tsai Ing-wen Takes Office.” For comparison, when using Google Translate, the translation came out correctly as “President Cai takes office.” "Cai" is the Chinese pinyin spelling for Tsai.

Inaccurate translation in Bing

Correct Google translation

When only the term “蔡總統” (President Tsai) was put into Bing Translator, it came out as “Tsai Ing-wen.” However, when “習總統” (President Xi) was entered, it was translated as “President Xi.”

"President" omitted in Bing translation

"President Xi" correctly translated in Bing

This revelation comes as Chinese netizens recently discovered that YouTube is automatically blocking the term “communist bandit” (共匪) in the comment section. YouTube has started to demonetize content that is critical of the Chinese Communist Party and China's handling of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.