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Bernama TV lodge police report over Facebook’s auto-translation blunder

Malaysian News Agency, Bernama TV, has lodged a police report on Wednesday over a post that was badly translated by Facebook. This comes after screenshots of the post were circulated online which appear to suggest that Bernama TV was responsible for the blunder.

Bernama TV had earlier posted on Facebook about the recent announcement where employees from the public and private sectors are urged to work from home beginning 22nd October. The original message was written in Bahasa Melayu but when it was auto-translated to English, “swasta bahagian” was displayed as “private parts”. Below is a copy of the text before and after translation:

If you do an image search on Facebook for “bernama private parts”, you can see multiple variations of the screenshot being shared while netizens poke fun at the bad translation. In most screenshots, it is clear that the text was translated as indicated by the “See original – Rate this translation” link at the bottom of the post.

While it is obvious why netizens will find it amusing, Bernama views the circulation of the badly translated post as an attempt to discredit the television channel. There’s always the possibility that some readers would question Bernama’s standard of English and may not realise that it was actually translated by the social media platform. If you look at the comments on Bernama TV’s clarification post on Facebook, some are still blaming the station for not bothering to check before posting.

Bernama has advised the public to learn how to spot fake postings and to look out for clear indications before spreading fake news and misinformation.

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Alexander Wong