WeChat Translation Glitch Involving Celebs Goes Viral

By Ryan Gandolfo, March 4, 2019

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‘You are so Kris Wu.’

According to WeChat’s ‘unofficial’ translation, the aforementioned statement means ‘You’re real adorable.’

Image via @Rabbit每日爆料/Weibo

Some of China’s most popular celebrities went viral on WeChat’s messaging platform yesterday, March 3, after a glitch in their translation software misinterpreted certain English words when translating them into Chinese.

Netizens on Weibo began posting screenshots of their WeChat messages, displaying poorly phrased sentences like ‘You are so tfboys,’ along with a Chinese translation meaning ‘You are really great’ (你们真是太好了). Other celebrities like Cai Xukun, Lai Meiyun and Cai Weize, among others, received quirky new Chinese translations. Some users even referred to these celebrities using just their initials and yielded the same results.

Pop singer Lai Meiyun’s initials translated to ‘cute’ on WeChat. Photo via @火箭101少女_赖美云 /Weibo

The glitch was a trending topic on Weibo, with around 270 million people tuning in and 20 thousand users posting and commenting under a hashtag roughly translated as #IsWeChatTranslateforReal?# (#微信翻译是认真的吗?#).

Around 270 million people have tuned into the trending topic as of press time. Screengrab via Weibo

On March 3, WeChat apologized for the bug and said they are urgently working to fix the glitch. As for the reason behind this comical mishap, WeChat has claimed their translation software was not trained to recognize some unofficial English words.

As of press time, it appears WeChat has removed the translating functionality for any sentence containing the aforementioned ‘unofficial words.’

While we reckon the TFBoys-glitch is a relatively harmless translation misstep, the same can’t be said for WeChat’s highly-publicized N-word translation blunder a couple of years ago. Back in 2017, the Chinese social media platform translated the words ‘black foreigner’ (‘黑老外’) as the deeply offensive and always-not-okay N-word. WeChat issued an apology and fixed the problem shortly after it was brought to their attention.   

[Cover image: screengrab via WeChat]

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