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Why Google Translate is Not Sufficient for Language Translation

Google Translate is a fantastic tool for on the go, but if you are using it to learn a new language or to communicate with someone in their own language, you may want to rethink this approach. Google Translate is a quickie translator and does not give you what human translators do. The bottom line is that the translation is not accurate enough for good, solid communication. Take the following example into consideration:

In English: When will you be ready to go to dinner?

In Spanish: Cuando estara listo par air a cenar?

Now translate the Spanish sentence back to English and you have when you are ready to go to dinner?

This may not seem like that big of a deal but if you are trying to communicate properly it is a big deal. The entire question was changed with Google Translate.

Another good example is from English to Hebrew. I am a huge fan of tattoos. All four of my children’s names are tattooed on my back and I wanted to get the words “more than my own life” tattooed above their names. I turned to Google translate for the proper translation and got something far from it. Boy am I glad I went with human translation instead! When the Hebrew words were translated back to English it no longer read “more than my own life”. Instead it said “My own life more.” So you can see what I mean about it not being the best way to translate.

As a freelance writer I have come across many contractors that bid on translation jobs when they have no clue how to speak, write or understand the language. Their theory is that they can simply turn to Google Translate. Yes, I was one of them for a short period of time when I first began writing for a living. I quickly found out how horribly it worked when I was immediately dismissed from the project. Professionals can apparently tell a human translation from a human one and I have never tried that again! It is not that I was trying to cheat or be dishonest; I honestly thought that it was the same thing! This is a problem many people have. Now the only thing I use Google Translate for is to chat with friends on social media. They get the general idea of what I am saying and understand that I have to use a machine to get the words out. This is totally acceptable. However, for business, Google Translate is a big no-no. It has come a long way but all too often, your translation get lost in translation!


4 thoughts on “Why Google Translate is Not Sufficient for Language Translation

  1. Google Translation can be used only when you can read, at least a little bit, of the goal language. The Google actions can be seen as a rough concept of the text, that always has to be corrected in order to get a proper translation. The advantage of using Google is that it is a kind of bulk translation of the words and is mostly giving an indication of the proper translation. A back translation is mostly a good check to conclude if the original text is “understood” by the Google system.


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