Google translate is now providing feminine and masculine translations for some gender-neutral words. This latest development happened after Google Translate redesign, this month.
James Kuczmarski, Product Manager, Google Translate, at Google, said that over the course of this year, there’s been an effort across Google to promote fairness and reduce bias in machine learning.
Before, 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, users will get both a feminine and masculine translation for a single word—like “surgeon”—when translating from English into French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish. Users will also get both translations when translating phrases and sentences from Turkish to English. For example, if a user types “o bir doktor” in Turkish, will now get “she is a doctor” and “he is a doctor” as the gender-specific translations.
Google is planning to extend gender-specific translations to more languages in the future, to launch on other Translate surfaces like iOS and Android apps, and address gender bias in features like query auto-complete. Google said is also thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations.