According to a local media report, a Palestinian male was arrested during last week by the Israeli police, following a post he made on Facebook. The post was made in Arabic, which said good morning, but was mistranslated and in Hebrew, read attack them. A photo was posted showing a West Bank worker, standing next to a ground moving bulldozer. These types of vehicles were used in the past in attacks on the Israelis. The report was verified by the police who said that they arrested a construction worker for a brief period under suspicion of instigation. The man was released when they realised that a mistake was made. The arrest took place without consulting an officer who was able to speak and understand Arabic. This left the officers dependent on the automatic translation tool available on Facebook. In lettering there is just one difference between the casual phrase in Arabic to say good morning and  to hurt them. The post was since deleted.


Google’s reaction


During last year a similar incident happened when Google’s online translation tool displayed Mordor for the Russian Federation. A fictional area in the book, Lord-of-the-Rings by JRR Tolkien, is called Mordor, whilst the word occupiers, was supplied for the translation of Russians. At that stage Google stated that the translation tool functioned by searching for patterns through many hundred-millions of documents. However, they said that translation remained tough because the meaning of the words was linked to the situation in which it was used.