Is Machine Translation Really That Bad?

Published 11th April 2013
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Why is machine translation so bad?

Is it honestly going to give me an issue when I use it instead of getting a professional translation done? The biggest issue is that a professional translator will understand the context and intricate meaning of the content and this is something which you cannot replicate with a software product. So, you can lose meaning and local cultural elements which mean the text you spent so much time writing in the original language, becomes garbled in translation.

Even with a simple translation, such as the paragraph above, you can see that the result is not guaranteed to be what you intended:

Why machine translation is that bad? Case honestly gives me a problem when I try to use it instead of getting a professional translation? The biggest problem is that a professional translator to understand the context and meaning of content and this can not be replicated with the software product.

This was the original text translated from English into Arabic and then back into English using a popular product, in fact the site warns me that machine translations are only 70% accurate.

So you need to make the decision, when you have spent time and money creating your content do you really want at least 30% of its meaning to be lost in translation?

This figure is much higher when you consider more complex documents!

Lingua Translations has access to over 5,000 professional translators and these include experts in subjects as diverse as Patent Law and Engineering, meaning that we can ensure the message you translate is accurate and no meaning is lost!

To give an extreme example, using an online translation tool to repeatedly translate the phrase “You must not commit adultery” eventually produces the alternative phrase “Thoust needs potato”. So now write it down 100 times… “I will not use machine translation” or, as it becomes in back translation, “Unable to collect”.

Remember, just one wrong word in a translation can drastically change the meaning, take it from me who once tabled a ‘Daft Report’ to the board instead of the required ‘Draft’. When it comes to language let’s leave it to the professionals

* See what can happen when machine translation goes wrong at: http://ackuna.com/badtranslator

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