Google is currently working on deleting offensive gay slurs and homophobic terms from its Google Translate services after receiving a petition for the removal of the words.
Google came under fire after Google Translate was discovered to be replacing the word "gay" with offensive homophobic words after users attempt to translate the word. When translating the word "gay" from English to several other languages, including French, Spanish and Portuguese, the demeaning words are returned as synonyms.
Google has since apologized for the issue, and said that it is currently working to rectify the problem. However, MailOnline has confirmed that Google Translate, which is currently being used by 500 million people monthly, is still returning the offensive words.
Andre Banks, the executive director of advocacy organization All Out, was dismayed when he saw the list of anti-gay terms suggested as synonyms by Google Translate. In response, Banks spearheaded the launch of the petition for Google Translate to re-program its system.
The petition, which acquired over 50,000 signatures within a day, quickly captured the attention of Google.
"Imagine learning English and being taught to say hateful insults instead of neutral language for 'gay'," the website for the petition said, adding that Google Translate was using offensive slurs as synonyms for the term.
"People use Google Translate every day to make sense of the world, learning languages, trying to communicate," Banks said in an interview with ABC News. "What we wanted to say is the common words aren't the same as the terrible words being used to describe us across time."
"This isn't just about political correctness gone mad. Degrading language feeds negative attitudes and stereotypes. And anti-gay slurs can lead to bullying and attacks on lesbian, gay, bi and trans people," All Out added.
A spokesperson for Google, in another interview with ABC News, expressed the company's apology for all the people that were offended by the incident. The spokesperson also explained that the system of Google Translate produces translations automatically according to the existing translations that can be found online. As such, the company appreciates when users bring up problematic issues such as this one.
Banks expressed his appreciation for the immediate response of Google, adding that he had expected for the company to "do the right thing."
Banks believes that Google should be able to give users accurate translations of the word "gay," which is used as a description for many people.
Banks adds that All Out is happy for Google to begin enacting change just hours after the issue was raised, and not weeks or months.
Google has previous experiences with dealing with homophobic terms, as the company has routinely taken down games from its Play Store that feature homophobic themes.