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Google Rolls Out Gender Specific Translation to Reduce Bias

Google said it is also thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it is not part of this initial launch

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Google will verify the identity of advertisers before their election ads run on its platforms, the company said in a statement.

In a bid to reduce gender biases in its translation service, Google has started rolling out a feature that provides feminine and masculine translations for some gender-neutral words on the Google Translate website.

The feature is currently available only for a few languages, although Google plans to bring it to more languages soon.

So one can now translate single words from English to languages like French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish. As of now, translations for short phrases and sentences that mention a person in a gender-neutral way is available for the English and Turkish language pair.

“In the future, we plan to extend gender-specific translations to more languages, launch on other Translate surfaces like our iOS and Android apps, and address gender bias in features like query auto-complete,” James Kuczmarski, Product Manager, Google Translate, said in a blog post on Thursday.

Google Translate learns from hundreds of millions of already-translated examples from the web.

Historically, it has provided only one translation for a query, even if the translation could have either a feminine or masculine form.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

So when the model produced one translation, it inadvertently replicated gender biases that already existed.

For example, it would skew masculine for words like “strong” or “doctor,” and feminine for other words, like “nurse” or “beautiful.”

“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,” Kuczmarski said.

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“You’ll also get both translations when translating phrases and sentences from Turkish to English. For example, if you type ‘o bir doktor’ in Turkish, you’ll now get ‘she is a doctor’ and ‘he is a doctor’ as the gender-specific translations,” Kuczmarski said.

The new feature is part of Google’s efforts to promote fairness and reduce bias in Machine Learning.

Google said it is also thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it is not part of this initial launch. (IANS)

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New Zealand Firms to Pull Ads From Facebook, Google

Spark's move was part of an international response, which also saw Disney and Nestle pull ads from the site

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A collective of some of New Zealand’s biggest companies is set to pull ads from Facebook and Google in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch mosques shootings in which the gunman live-streamed his massacre of 50 people.

Using a GoPro camera, the gunman broadcast extremely graphic footage of him shooting people at the Al Noor Mosque via Facebook Live. The livestream was available to watch on social media for hours after the attack.

Besides being livestreamed on Facebook, the video, lasting 17 minutes, was shared repeatedly on YouTube and Twitter, before being removed by the social media giant.

The New Zealand Herald said on Monday that the collective, including ASB Bank, Lotto NZ, Burger King, Spark, has come together to take a stand against the harm caused by unmoderated content on the Internet.

At this stage, it is still unclear how extensive the pull-back will be or for how long the companies are likely to pull their digital ads.

Other brands have also acted independently, The New Zealand Herald reported.

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Facebook: The platform allows for different types of content, which makes it ideal for diverse, interactive and entertaining content.

Kiwibank suspended all digital advertising on March 15 shortly after the carnage took place at the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Avenue Masjid that also left over 40 others injured.

On Sunday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she intended to ask Facebook how the gunman was able to livestream the massacre.

Facebook has on its part said that as many as 1.5 million videos of the attack were removed from its platform in the first 24 hours.

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This is not the first time New Zealand companies have pulled ads from these platforms.

Earlier this month, telecom company Spark pulled all its advertising from YouTube over concerns about paedophilic content.

Spark’s move was part of an international response, which also saw Disney and Nestle pull ads from the site. (IANS)