Google recently announced a big change in its translation application in order to remove inadvertent gender bias results offered until now. Google Translate has been criticised earlier as the application often defaulted to masculine names when it converted text to another language.
A blog post by Google’s product manager James Kuczmarski in this context reads, “Over the course of this year, there’s been an effort across Google to promote fairness and reduce bias in machine learning.”
The translate program until now provided only one translation for a query, often choosing the masculine word for terms like “doctor,” and the feminine word for “nurse,” for example. But with the new changes in place, “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.
And Google has said that in the future it plans to extend this more gender-neutral programming to additional languages “and address gender bias in features like query auto-complete”. Kuczmarski adds, in the post, “And we’re already thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it’s not part of this initial launch.”