How Google Translate Can “Help” You Promote Your Competitors

by | Apr 21, 2013 | Translation

Google Translate is used around the globe for many reasons, even enjoyment by running different passages through it just to see what comes up, or to test its knowledge. It is most efficient when dealing with low level, simple translations.

But what happens when the need for professionalism comes in the equation?

The way an automatic translation works
One of the numerous reasons why professionals should not use Google Translate is that the context that needs to be translated is detected as a code, being processed word by word, making the translation lose the nuances and meaning of the original language. The grammatical rules of every language could be implemented in this tool so it could construct sentences and reproduce meaning, but as we all know, there are exceptions to almost every grammatical rule, and the computer would not be able to know when those exceptions apply.

If we have an image or a flash animation with a message that needs translating, Google Translate will never be able to deliver, because it is built to translate words created by characters implemented and not “painted” in the image or animation. And it’s not the program’s fault, because it works by detecting, unlike humans who see and understand.

The worst situation in which someone would use Google Translate is in a specialised field that has its own jargon, such as medical, legal, financial, engineering or technical. This tool would have no frame of reference for such conversions.

Automatic translation of a website
Google Translate cannot be trusted, not even where it is used for the translation of a website. Surely it will detect the text within the HTML code, but what happens when it comes across the brand name? In some situations, proper names end up being translated by Google when they should be left alone. An example would be with the brand name “Continental Clothing”, an important manufacturer and distributor of T-shirts and casual clothing, when it was translated in two instances as “Gildan” and “American Apparel”, both existing on the market as competitors. This automatic translation could even lead to damaging the brand.

Another situation in which Google Translate didn’t contribute in a positive way was when the Malaysian Ministry of Defence launched its new website showing its military status, along with the English version. In one section of the translated version it was mentioned that the Malaysian Government had taken “drastic measures to increase the level of any national security threat” after the country’s independence in 1957.

A Professional Translation Company for an accurate translation
Google Translate can be considered helpful when it is used to familiarize oneself with an unknown language.

Even if Google Translate continues to grow in popularity, mostly because it is a free service, people who need accurate, professional translations will always contact a professional translation company.