Malaysia’s defense ministry has recently used Google Translate’s free translation tool to translate their official website from Malaysian to English. As a result (of course) many of the words were mistranslated, often humorously, much to the chagrin of Malaysian officials.
Defense minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi admitted the inaccurate translations caused much embarrassment to the ministry, Malaysia’s The Star reported. “We have corrected the mistakes and translations are no longer done that way. “It is now done manually,” Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said here yesterday.
But not before many of the more humorous translations made it around Facebook and Twitter.
One such example was the phrase “pakaian yang menjolok mata,” which means revealing clothes in Bahasa Malaysia, which was translated as “clothes that poke eye.”
Another was the brief summary of the ministry’s history on the website: “After the withdrawal of British army, the Malaysian Government take drastic measures to increase the level of any national security threat.”
“We did not intend for the English translations to turn out that way,” said Dr Zahid during a visit to the National Service camp. The ministry took down its English translated version several hours after it went viral. They are currently being translated manually by a professional human translator.
This example goes to show that despite the technological progress made thus far, you cannot trust machine translators to be perfect. Human translators are still necessary when it comes to the complexities of language. It seems strange to me that the Malaysian government would not want to pay the relatively little money to ensure accuracy on the website that is representing their country to the entire world. As a result, they received the type of attention they did not want.
Goes to show why translation companies are still a necessity in this day in age.