Google moves to curb gender bias in translation

Google is working on reducing gender bias in translations, offering both masculine and feminine words in some languages
Google is working on reducing gender bias in translations, offering both masculine and feminine words in some languages

Google said Thursday it was tweaking its translation application with the goal of reducing gender bias.

The move comes amid criticism that Google Translate often defaulted to masculine names when it converted text to another language.

"Over the course of this year, there's been an effort across Google to promote fairness and reduce bias in ," product manager James Kuczmarski said in a blog post.

Up to now, the translate program provided only one translation for a query, often choosing the masculine word for terms like "doctor," and the feminine word for "nurse," for example.

"Now you'll get both a feminine and masculine translation for a single word—like 'surgeon'—when translating from English into French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish," he said.

Google said it was planning to extend gender-specific translations to more languages, "and address in features like query auto-complete."

"And we're already thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it's not part of this initial launch," Kuczmarski added.


Explore further

Researchers reveal link between job titles and gender equality

© 2018 AFP

Citation: Google moves to curb gender bias in translation (2018, December 7) retrieved 22 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-google-curb-gender-bias.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
8 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Dec 07, 2018
If Google can stop feminine and masculine translation, why can't governments ban gender bias by making illegal the continued existence of gendered words that have feminine and masculine translations.

Dec 07, 2018
Oh, that'll be popular.

Dec 07, 2018
I see sexism in the google logo but I'm not sure whether the two o's represent boobs or balls. At any they ought to change it, maybe to giggle or something.

Dec 07, 2018
I see sexism in the google logo but I'm not sure whether the two o's represent boobs or balls. At any they ought to change it, maybe to giggle or something.


But then, it would just look like two penises.

Dec 08, 2018
If Google can stop feminine and masculine translation, why can't governments ban gender bias by making illegal the continued existence of gendered words that have feminine and masculine translations.


It's very simple. Governments and people operate in the real world and not in googles fantasy world. Everyone already knows there are doctors and nurses that are both sexes and it is nothing more than tradition as to why they tend to get called one of the other. Give it a few more years and that tradition will go away as the jobs get more and more mixed. Trying to make it a law would be a total waste of time and there are already far too many stupid laws on the books. You might as well call doctors and nurses 'it' or 'its' in translation. That might make the wackos happy but I doubt it. They will just fine something else to whine about.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more