Business Owner: Google Translate could be costing you dearly!
Why do I even need to hire a translator if I have Google Translate?
Google Translate is free, so why should I pay you money?
These are questions that almost every translator hears from time to time. But, before we answer the question in all due seriousness, here’s a real life situation.
In accordance with the established regulations for public swimming pools in Israel, a warning sign with clear instructions for the bathers must be posted at every public swimming pool. The instructions require the bathers to abide by the pool rules and regulations, all children younger than 6 years old must be accompanied by an adult and other important guidelines. So far so good. But what happens if the rules on this sign also have to be translated into English? Probably, in order to save money and to avoid hassle – instead of hiring a human translator to provide this service, the swimming pool’s owners will decide to translate the rules into English using Google’s automatic machine translation.
And, what’s so bad about Google Translate, you might ask?
Here’s a comparison between the Hebrew and the English on a real sign at a pool somewhere in Israel:
An example, “parents and escorts” in Hebrew became “parents lenders” in English – the word for escorts is written in Hebrew in the same way as “financial loan”, so the translation came up as “lenders”. “Supervision” became “providence”, again the words are written in the same way so it was translated as “[divine] providence” and not “parental supervision” … and there are many more errors. A person that doesn’t understand Hebrew and only reads this automatic English translation could ultimately endanger his life, because the instructions on the sign are incomprehensible. The potential damage to the owner in the event of injury could be huge, all because he thought that Google knows how to translate exactly like it knows how to search and find. And what happens when a business owner wants to translate his marketing materials from English to Hebrew? If he uses Google machine translation, every time the word “company” appears it will be translated to “girlfriend” which is written in the same way as “company” in Hebrew, this has happened, and will happen again, more than once! If these materials are to be published later on the internet, or worse than that, printed and cannot be changed, irreparable damage can be caused to the company’s image. Spelling, grammar and formulation errors may indicate a lack of professionalism, lack of attention and even blatant negligence.. It all depends on who reads the content and how these errors affect the business’s image in their eyes. The reader doesn’t care that the errors are the result of Google’s poor automatic translation; the result is the same to him, and the same goes for you too, as business owners. Do you want to safeguard your image as a serious business? Don’t put your content in the hands of a blind and indiscriminate machine. Anyone who thinks that it is expensive to hire the services of a professional, just has to wait until he receives the unprofessional work of an amateur, to understand what it really means to pay dearly.. Even if that amateur is Google itself.