Home / / Microsoft apologies after Saudi translation error

Microsoft apologies after Saudi translation error

Bing translates 'Daesh' into 'Saudi Arabia'

Microsoft apologies after Saudi translation error
Microsoft's Bing search engine was erroneously translating 'Daesh' into 'Saudi Arabia'.

Microsoft has been forced to apologise after its search app Bing translated ‘Daesh', an Arabic acronym for ISIS, as 'Saudi Arabia' when translating from Arabic to English.

The error emerged after Saudi social media users shared videos of the translation tool last week.

Social media users vented their anger on Twitter, calling for a boycott under a hashtag ‘Microsoft insults Saudi'.

The campaign went viral in the Kingdom, which has the most active Twitter users in the world.

Microsoft said the error has since been fixed by Microsoft's product team, which said the matter was under investigation.

"Our product team fixed the error in the automated translation within hours of learning about it," a spokesperson said.

Dr Mamdouh Najjar, head of Microsoft in Saudi Arabia, apologised for the error through his Twitter account.

"As an employee of this company, I personally apologise to the people of great Saudi Arabia, which is a country very close to our hearts, for the unintentional error," Dr Mamdouh Najjar wrote.

Dr Najjar suggested to the Huffington Post's Arabic edition that the error may have been caused by Bing's crowdsourcing function, which changes the translation of a word if more than 1,000 people input a translation correction for a particular word.

Follow us to get the most comprehensive technology news in UAE delivered fresh from our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and listen to our Weekly Podcast. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter on curated technology news in the Middle East and Worldwide.

REGISTER NOW | Webinar Event | Security you can bank on – Safeguarding the Middle East’s financial sector

Presented in partnership with security and network specialist Cybereason, the second in the three part webinar series will bring together a panel of experts to discuss how banks and financial institutions are evolving their service offering while simultaneously staying one step ahead of the cyber criminals who seek to bring their operations crashing to the ground.