When Google Translate Goes Bad
Yes, we all know how unreliable Google Translate and other machine translators can be. Yet, people still insist on using it, even in scenarios where accuracy is key. The FREE factor of machine translators might just be that big of a draw that people are willing to forgo the cost of professional translation services at the risk of potential serious problems down the line.
Listed are some examples of where a professional translator might have been worth it.
5. One online machine translation tool apparently mistranslated a common Chinese word as “Wikipedia,” Chinese menus began popping up everywhere with English translations for menu items like “stir-fried Wikipedia” and “barbecued Congo eel with Wikipedia and fermented bean curd.”
4. a Chinese furniture manufacturer trusted a machine translation program to translate its furniture labels from Chinese to English. Unfortunately, the computer program contained a typo that added a racist slur to the label, thus seriously offending unsuspecting purchasers of a leather sofa.
3. When Canadian hockey fans expected quality translation from the French shopping website of their Olympic hockey team, they were sorely disappointed. Machine translation errors irked many visitors, and the team shut down that e-commerce section of the website, foregoing the potential revenue stream.
2. Israeli journalists nearly set off an international incident when they sent a list of machine-translated questions to a Dutch diplomat: “Helloh bud, Enclosed five of the questions in honor of the foreign minister: The mother your visit in Israel is a sleep to the favor or to the bed your mind on the conflict are Israeli Palestinian, and on relational Israel Holland,” the email began, before making several more references to the minister’s mum.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the Dutch Foreign Ministry is on the verge of filing a formal complaint against the journalists – and canceling their trip to The Netherlands.
1. In a 2010 legal mishap, “a Russian trucker in (the Netherlands) involved in a bar brawl was released because the (court) summons he received was poorly translated from Dutch into Russian using Google Translate,” reported the Dutch-English news blog 24oranges. Instead of reading, “you are to appear in court on 3 August 2010,” as it should have, the summons said something more like “you have to avoid being in court on 3 August 2010.”