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the Canadian flag oddly translated as “he is in prison”

The Chinese WeChat app had to “Fix a bug” who “Translated” foreign flags, as if they were characters, by amazing formulas, like ” he is in prison “ for the Canadian flag.

Network users, ultra-popular in China, tweeted screenshots showing that the app translated flag emoticons as if they were characters in Mandarin. “Try it yourself: write in Chinese, add the Canadian flag, then translate”proposed British investor James Hull, based in Beijing, on Monday.

Other users then realized that the application “Translated” the South African flag by “Henchman”, and that of Belgium by ” It's hot “.

“We are taking immediate action to fix this bug”, tweeted the platform on tuesday. “We thank the users who alerted us to this problem and we apologize. “

Geopolitical tensions

Canadian channel CTV News has noted that the bug has echoed geopolitical tensions with China, which detains Canadians Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a specialist in North Korea, since December 10, 2018.

The proceedings against the two men are widely seen in the West as a reprisal for the arrest in Canada of the leader of Huawei, daughter of the founder of the company.

But an artificial intelligence student says on Twitter that the problem may be related to machine learning in the translation service. By collecting data, the algorithm was able to establish a connection between the Canadian flag emoticon and the sentence ” he is in prison “.

The WeChat platform, which belongs to Tencent, has become essential in China. It has more than a billion users and offers a vast ecosystem combining messaging service, news feed, social network and payment service.

Read also Chinese WeChat app exceeds one billion accounts

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