Web

Google Translate updated to reduce gender bias in its translations

Google has had long-standing issues with gender parity, from admitting it hires too many white guys to debates over whether the women that is does hire are underpaid compared to men. With the issue of gender discrimination receiving a significant amount of public attention this year, Google has been making efforts to be more gender-inclusive through efforts like the Change the Game initiative to encourage young women to get into game design.

Now Google has taken another step towards reducing gender bias by changing the way that Google Translate offers translations. As Translate learns from content that is already on the web, it tends to reproduce gender-based assumptions in language. This is a problem in many languages, like Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian, which have nouns which can be in either masculine or feminine. When Google translates into one of these languages, it tends to carry assumptions about gender based on stereotypes.

For example, previously when you translated a word like “strong” or “doctor,” Translate would tend towards a masculine interpretation of the word. Conversely, if you translated a word like “nurse” or “beautiful,” it would tend towards a feminine interpretation. Now, Translate will offer you both masculine and feminine versions of the phrase as a translation.

google translate reduce gender bias translation
Gender-specific translations on the Google Translate website. Google

So, formerly if you typed “o bir doktor” into Translate, it would translate from Turkish into “he is a doctor.” Now you are offered two options instead: “she is a doctor” as well as “he is a doctor.” This feature is currently only available in some languages and on the web version of Translate, though Google is planning to roll it out to other languages and to other versions of the software like the iOS and Android apps. Google also mentions plans to address non-binary gender in translations at some point in the future as well.

Equality in terms of gender and race has been particularly tough to achieve in situations which use machine learning, as these systems are trained on existing content, by creators who are often themselves not demographically representative. This has lead to facial recognition software which is less accurate at working with non-Caucasian faces, for example, and automatically filled in search results which were derogatory towards black, Asian, and Latina women. Hopefully this change to how Translate works with gender is a step towards lessening this bias.

Home Theater

Google Chromecast returns to Amazon just in time for the holiday shopping crunch

It's been a chilly few years between Google and Amazon, but things may be improving. You can now buy two versions of Google's Chromecast on Amazon, something that hasn't be possible since 2015.
Mobile

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.
Mobile

Google Fit app finally gets a widget, among other new features

Google Fit hasn't received any new features since its redesign. This week, the company is rolling some new tools; users will be able to add a widget to their Android home screen, adjust the intensity of their workouts, and more.
Computing

Chrome’s dark mode may cast its shadow over Macs by early 2019

By early 2019 Google may release a version of Chrome for Mac users that offers a Dark Mode feature to match MacOS Mojave's recent darkening.
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
Computing

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.
Web

Encryption-busting law passed in Australia may have global privacy implications

Controversial laws have been passed in Australia which oblige tech companies to allow the police to access encrypted messages, undermining the privacy of encryption with potentially global effects.
Web

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?
Computing

Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser may be adding your Chrome extensions

Fans sticking to Google Chrome because due to its vast extension library might be able to switch over to Microsoft's latest iteration of Edge, as a project manager confirms that the company has its eyes on Chrome extensions.
Computing

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Mobile

5G: Why everything is about to change

Curious about the many ways 5G will change and enrich your life? Here’s our guide to all things 5G.