A mistake by Google Translate has sparked an online debate over Chinese influence in Preah Sihanouk province’s Sihanoukville.
Google Translate is translating Sihanoukville to Shanghai, leading many people on Facebook to question whether the translation was a reflection of the many Chinese investors moving into the coastal province.
“Nowadays, for tourism in Sihanoukville there are many Chinese investors,” one Facebook user said. “So is this why Google translates Sihanoukville to Shanghai?”
Others said they were worried that Sihanoukville would become a “Chinatown” in the near future.
However, an information technology specialist and a government official explained that the mistranslation is the fault of Google’s algorithms and has nothing to do with Chinese investment in the province.
Heng Sovan, an IT specialist, said no one can insert data into Google Translate, which is controlled by the company and cannot always keep up with accurate translations for so many languages.