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Hong Kongers alarmed by Google translation gaffe

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Hong Kong social media lit up on Friday when protesters noticed Google’s translation software was briefly churning out a rather odd suggestion during a week that has seen the worst political violence to hit the city in decades.

Eagle-eyed Google users discovered that when people entered the phrase “I am sad to see Hong Kong become part of China” the suggested translation in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese converted the word “sad” to “happy”.

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“Oh my god, I can’t believe my eyes,” one Facebook user commented under one of the many screen grabs of the false translation that went viral on Friday.

“The app intentionally mistranslates the English to ‘so happy/content’ instead of ‘so sad’,” added student Rachel Wong on Twitter. “I hope Google fixes this.”

When AFP entered the sentence “I am sad to see Hong Kong become part of China” on Friday morning it did show the wrong translation, replacing sad with happy.

Searches involving some other combinations of countries or territories also reproduced the error.

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An hour later, a correct translation was showing.

The company’s hugely popular software tool uses complex algorithms and deep learning, as well as allowing users to make suggested translations to improve accuracy.

“Google Translate is an automatic translator, using patterns from millions of existing translations to help decide on the best translation for you,” a spokesman for Google told AFP.

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“These automatic systems can sometimes make unintentional mistakes like translating a negative to a positive.”

The international finance hub has been rocked this week by political violence as protesters opposed to a proposed China extradition law clashed with police.

On Thursday, the popular encrypted messaging app telegram, which is being used by protesters to coordinate, announced it had suffered a major cyber-attack that originated from China.

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In extreme crises, conservatism can turn to fascism. Here’s how that might play out

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5 movie "Back to the Future," Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) travels in a time machine from the 1980s to the 1950s. When he tells people of the '50s he is from the '80s, he is met with skepticism.

1950s person: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?

This article first appeared at Salon.com.Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.

1950s person: Ronald Reagan? The actor? [chuckles in disbelief] Then who's vice president? Jerry Lewis [comedian]?

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Who are the young people behind the Catalonia protest violence?

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The violent protests that have swept Catalonia over the jailing of nine separatist leaders have involved veteran anarchists and youthful troublemakers as well as outraged separatists, some of whom became radicalised only recently.

"I am 24, have a masters and a job and I never imagined myself setting fire to a barricade with my face masked," said one protester who gave her name only as Aida.

She has joined in protests every day since they erupted in the region after Spain's Supreme Court on Monday sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to up to 13 years in jail for sedition over a failed 2017 independence bid.

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Body language expert dissects the power dynamic at play in the iconic Nancy Pelosi photo

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Last week, President Donald Trump met with Democrats at the White House to discuss the way both sides could work to fix the President's mistakes in Syria. Democrats left the White House saying that the President had another meltdown during the meeting, which prompted Trump to claim Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was the one who had a meltdown. He then posted photos of Pelosi sitting quietly and another photo of Pelosi standing and pointing at him.

Body language expert Dr. Jack Brown posted the photo and gave his own analysis of what he believed was happening in the photo.

"When a person has little or no empathy — and/or when they're far from their emotional baseline, their ability to interpret how others will view an event becomes dramatically distorted," Brown explained Sunday. "Rarely has this behavioral axiom been better exemplified than last Wednesday at the White House."

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