Off topic: I think they screwed up... (overeager banned term filters)
Thread poster: Jack Doughty

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
May 17, 2003

Got the following email today after sending a batch of work to a client to whom I have been sending work every week with no trouble for years. (Details which could identify client deleted)

An Email Processed By Our Mail System Has Been Trapped For Some Reason In A Quarantine Area ( Profanity Area ) , If You Believe That This Is In Error Please Contact Our IT Help Desk On xxxx-xxx-xxxxxx, Or Email on IT With The Mail ID of - T6243afd35eac100103398 Message Area - Profanity Area. They Will Then Look At This EMail And If Necessary Release It.


Text Analysis Results

This report describes the search expressions found in this message.

Scenarios/Incoming/xxxxx Manual Profanity List found the following search expressions in \'0.4.0\':

· The phrase \'screw\' was found at the location(s): 5,20,21,23,30,31,32,60,71,72,74,75.



Amy Taylor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:22
Member (2002)
Italian to English
Over eager filters May 17, 2003

The March 2003 issue of Harpers Magazine includes an entry in their \"Index\" that reads:

\"Month\'s after Ohio\'s Flesh Public Library installed Internet filters in 2000 that the filters blocked its own website: 12\"



two2tango  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Silicon idiots May 17, 2003

Computers are wonderful tools, but they are SO stupid!. Another silicon moralist some time ago censored a message of mine for including an obviously profane expression: Moby-Dick.




Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:22
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Yeah, it's nice to have such filters, May 17, 2003

wish I had such icon_smile.gif
But seriously- try to send your produce zipped, we recently had trouble (never expeerienced before) to receive unzipped Word files containing special characters (never before have seen, that transmitting attached files through 7, not 8 bit severs afflicts attached files...)


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Unzipped May 18, 2003

I wonder if anyone apart from Bill Clinton has ever had any trouble with that word?


George Hopkins
Local time: 05:22
Swedish to English
Stupid, yes. May 18, 2003

As two2tango so rightly points out, computers are really stupid. To switch one off you have to press the Start button.


Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:22
French to English
+ ...
Dodgy soup.... May 19, 2003

I work as a project manager for a travel and conference organising company - recently we had a group of VIP clients over and I couldn\'t seem to send through the menus for their lunches to them without receiving messages that they had been refused for \'inappropriate language\'. The reason? The starter was cock-a-leekie soup.


Jean-Luc Dumont  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
English to French
+ ...
Was Moby-dick banned for being a sperm-whale :-) ? May 24, 2003


Jack and Amy, the examples you report are quite funny.

Enrique, you say, referring to Moby-Dick being banned by a computer filter: \"Computers are wonderful tools, but they are SO stupid!.\"

Well, at the game of stupidity, unlike for chess, computers still have a long way to go before they \"beat\" loads of human beings. %5C

Moby-Dick Banned from the advanced placement English reading list at the Lindale, TX schools (1996) because it \"conflicts with the values of the community\". 11/96, p.199

Must be because they found out it was a sperm whale. %5C


[Edited at 2003-05-24 05:34]

The language-dependence of content filtering Jun 26, 2003

(Just discovered this forum recently; although I'm not a professional translator by any means, I am a university student who's interested in language and translation, though more on an independent basis than as a major. Anyway...)

There's also the problem that content filters designed for one language may inadvertently end up blocking a completely innocuous word in another.

For instance, there are many words in Japanese that, when romanized, happen to contain "shita" or "shitsu"; for obvious reasons, these combinations of letters are rejected by certain content filters. I've also seen a forum that filtered the French "petits" because of the last four letters.


English to Tamil
Latin sites Aug 14, 2003

I read an article, probably on, about Latin sites being blocked by stupid filtering software because they contained the word 'cum'.



Richard Benham  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
German to English
+ ...
An old story, probably apocryphal, has it ... Aug 20, 2003

... that the local council in the English town of Scunthorpe was surprised to receive no emails AT ALL after installing a content filter.


Irene Caporale (X)
Local time: 05:22
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
computers are stupid... Mar 18, 2004

...and are a tool of the Evil if used by stupid people...

I work in a 24h/day call center and recently we have experienced some problems because of some dumb colleague using the web for... well, I'll say "night entertainement" purposes.
Our technicians, AKA The Geniuses, have put a filter into the system by entering a list of "forbidden" words, so that if you googled that particuar word you'd have the pc blocked and the Marines coming to take you away...:)

"CHATeau" got blocked because of "chat", but the best was when "classiFICA" got blocked because of the word "fica" (=italian foe female genitals)



Spanish to English
+ ...
The Scunthorpe story Apr 7, 2004

is likely to be true. Message boards that I use frequently edit people's posts for containing the name of the town. Weightwatchers is another popular term that is edited to Weigh****chers. However, posters soon discovered that problems such as the word "shit" being edited could be overcome simply by using an accented character, and writing "shít".

Yet again, humans triumph over technology.


Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:22
Italian to English
+ ...
Happens at universities too: Apr 13, 2004

A Professor of Andrology for whom I translate was very surprised to have his traditional weekly roundup of relevant articles in his field, which he sends to his collegues in the university, come back to him with the accusation of spamming because one of the attachments contained a banned word.

The word was "anal", the article was about increased numbers of antisperm antibodies in subjects performing anal intercourse.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

I think they screwed up... (overeager banned term filters)

Advanced search

Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search