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Facebook Translates Chinese Leader Xi Jinping’s Name With Vulgar Term, Blames Computer Glitch

Bruce Haring

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A translation from Burmese to English posts on its platform rendered Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s name to appear as “Mr. S–thole” for a few days.

Xi was visiting Burma to sign infrastructure deals with Burmese state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. Facebook users who used the software to translate headlines from local media outlets reporting that news saw  such phrases as “Dinner honors President s–thole.”

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Suu Kyi’s official Facebook page was also filled with the mistranslation as she posted about her time with Xi.

Facebook has apologized, and claims that President Xi Jinping’s name was not in its Burmese database. That left the site to guess the translation. Testing the translations of similar words starting with “xi” and “shi” brought the same “sh–thole” results, it claimed.

“We fixed a technical issue that caused incorrect translations from Burmese to English on Facebook,” Facebook said. “This should not have happened and we are taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We sincerely apologize for the offense this has caused.”

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