Isn’t Web site translation free?

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The availability of exciting new tools like Google Translate® has caused some people to wonder if there is still a requirement for professional human Web site translation.  The answer is probably best given by the Google Translate team in their Wikipedia post:

Google Translate, like other automatic translation tools, has its limitations. While it can help the reader to understand the general content of a foreign language text, it does not always deliver accurate translations.

As this post suggests, Google Translate and other automated Web translation services are excellent at giving their users a general idea of what a Web pages is about, but they are not only not exact, they are sometimes downright inaccurate.  For example, Google Translate renders the menu text “Energy Taskforce” on one site into Spanish as “Energy of the Force of Work” (“Energía de la Fuerza de Tarea”), from which the real meaning if the link can’t even be guessed.  A good rule of thumb for Google Translate is that any page on which you would be comfortable posting content with spelling and grammatical errors is a good candidate for using only Google Translate without human translation.

Posted by: Mark Reichard at 7:44 PM
Tags: Translation