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The Perils of Auto-Translation

The Perils of Auto-Translation

In the world of translation, many people believe they can disregard the need for an actual translator. Why? Because they have the option of turning to an auto-translating tool themselves. From a smartphone app to online websites, translations are easy to find. The only problem is that, like anything else, you get what you pay for.

If you translate a phrase from Italian to English, for example, a translation tool will just give you a basic “meat-and-potatoes” translation, but keep in mind that this is the work of a machine and there is absolutely no verification that the translation is correct, if at all. How much quality can there be if there is no quality control in place at all? Even when human translators are at work, this still must be checked to ensure accuracy.

There are HUGE differences when using a real human translator. One of the most excellent examples of complete auto-translation failure can be found, for example, in the world of professional sports, particularly in soccer or football.

Translation Frustration

You regularly see foreign players moving from one country to the next giving rise to the problem caused by the various languages spoken in those countries and who is actually doing the reporting. For example, you might see an article about a certain footballer from Croatia who is moving to Scotland.

The Scottish press would use an auto translator (to save time and money) to translate what was going on in Croatia, translating from Croatian into English. However, they often find out that article makes very little sense. Why? Because the automated translation software just takes the Croatian and translates it bluntly into English.

Before long, the names of the players are scrambled, integrated into the sentence. Names are made into verbs and verbs or made into objects thus, creating stories that make no sense. Within no time at all, a sports star who was being linked with a move to one country has now just insulted that country heavily – all thanks to mediocre translations.

Creating Confusion

This naturally causes a lot of concern, and you see it in major elements of all modern life. Sports, politics, acting, drama, celebrity gossip, health, and war. Everything today is so globalized that we find ourselves in need of instantaneous and quick translations.

The only problem is that by means auto translations that strip away the context and the actual meaning of the written word at hand results in incorrect and false information. How often are misquoted in a foreign language? Or that they were misrepresented in what they said? The answer is quite often in fact.

If you ever had the need to translate a document or object from a foreign language to your native one, it’s always best to use a proper expert in translation. It might cost you money, and it actually take a few hours, but it’s far more accurate and reliable. If information is not properly translated and the information conveyed is wrong, it might even be wiser to not pass on the information at all. Use people to translate, not machines.


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