9 Reasons NOT to Use Google for Website Translation

Google has become one of the more popular translation tools on the web. It has an easy to use interface and a well known brand name. However, Google definitely does not put its best resources on its free website translation software. In fact, the tool is often faulty with poor translations and poor output. Here are 9 good reasons not to use Google Translate..

1. Meaning

First and foremost, Google often gets the meaning wrong on a translation. For example, they may switch present (as in “birthday present”), with the word present (as in “present time”). This results in completely unintelligible translations.

2. Slang

The tool has no idea how to translate slang terms like “mo money, mo problems”. A human is much better at figuring this out and turning it into something useful. This is crucial for song translation or in various books that try to emulate specific cultures or peoples where much slang is used.

3. Professionalism

The Google tool is nowhere near professional enough to be used in a business setting. The word choice is poor and it does not convey proper strategic or critical thinking appropriate for a commercial transaction. A small investment in a human translator to create a professional output will immediately be paid back in comparison to the free yet completely unusable Google translation.

4. Sentence Structure

The software often takes the sentence exactly how it is written and not in the way it was intended to be understood. For example, the Chinese might say “Please you the salt pass to me,” whereas in English we would say “Please pass me the salt”. Google may use the first translation which is extremely awkward.

5. Formatting

Google put no effort in properly converting the formatting of web pages during the translation process. The result is extremely poor formatting that makes it difficult to read and decipher. Instead, a human translator could format all the words and phrases to match the page layout that you desire.

6. Idioms

The Google tool does not get common idioms, puns or double meanings that any human would immediately understand. For example, it could not translate the phrase “raining cats and dogs” or “it costs an arm and a leg”. However, a human easily understands the meaning and can turn it into the most appropriate idiom of the local language.

7. Organized Thoughts

Google tools do not organize the sentences or thoughts in a paragraph to match the flow one would expect. In some languages, points are made in different orders than English. A direct translation would not make sense. The hand of a human interpreter is important here.

8. Jargon

In some cases, Google does not even have a translation for some jargon. This includes medical terms, engineering terms, specialized scientific terms and other industry words. These rare words require an extremely precise definition or the perfect translation into the new language.

9. Contemporary Language

Sometimes, a document or quote uses ancient language that could not be properly translated by software. It needs to be made contemporary through a process to first modernize the content and then translate it into the new language. For example, Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous line “Quoth the raven nevermore” needs to be made contemporary.

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