Awful translations or just automatic translations?

Something that was created to help people and make our life easier has become the opposite: a tool that brings more problems than solutions when people trust it too much. I’m talking about the automatic translation tools. When we are working in a translation we have to take care of many aspects such as the context, the style, the message we want to transmit… But obviously, the automatic translators don’t do this. This may sound very obvious, but apparently many people don’t realize this. The proof is that every now and then we come across awful translations which clearly were made with an automatic translation tool and were not even checked by someone who at least speaks the target language.

I think that automatic translation tools are useful for checking some little doubts, but we have to take into account that they are machines and that we have to go through their results carefully. People should never use automatic translators -without checking it afterwards- for important things that other people are going to read. As an example of terrible translations that were not checked at all before being published, you can see this link… Hopefully you will laugh a bit as well : )

This is another example I found in the handbook of an electronic device that I bought. Sorry for the bad quality of the picture! “Fabricado en Porcelana” as the translation of “Made in China”. “Porcelana” is “china” in Spanish, but as we all know, “china” is not the same as “China”.


And then we ask ourselves why are there so many translators unemployed!


3 thoughts on “Awful translations or just automatic translations?

  1. My two cents as a computer scientist: most of the tools nowadays rely on statistical techniques from bilingual corpora (e.g. Google Translate). In layman’s terms, what they do is find the words in the target language that best match the usual syntactic role of the words in the origin language. For example, if I were to say “my homeland is England”, a (badly implemented) statistic-based translator could turn it into “ma patrie est la France”.

    That is, of course, dangerous if you can’t speak the target language, since many glaring mistakes can fall through, as this nice comic shows:

  2. Thank you for your contribution!! Yes, I have stumbled upon examples as the one you mention of England and France, now I understand the cause!

  3. Pingback: First birthday of the blog! | Grammaticalicious

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