Why businesses should not rely on Google Translate or Yahoo’s Babelfish.

With the global business environment responding to economic and political shifts around the world, many companies are looking to either cut costs or at least curb their spending. Often, bought-in services such as consultants, IT and professional translation are some of the first to go. However, the true cost of scrapping such services is often hidden.

If you are tempted to use free translation tools you could end up paying dearly for your decision since Google Translate was not developed to serve business. It is useful for travellers to translate road signs, menus, and for fun or leisure activities, but it is not intended for businesses, especially if their objective is international growth.

Google Translate learns from translated documents on the web to provide the best match for the text you want to translate.  And despite the launch of Google Neural Machine Translation in 2016, it still cannot replace professional translation services. This is because machine translations copy the syntax of the source language, resulting in completely nonsense sentences and errors that language professionals do not make. It may add extra nonsense words, or rearrange words in unusual or non-human ways.

Poor quality translation of documents like instruction manuals can lead to the need to reprint corrected versions. Poorly translated health and safety guidelines and warnings increase the potential for legal action. Both of these factors have the potential to cause reputational damage to the brand in question, and both can result in key staff wasting time dealing with the issues that arise, which costs the business still more money.

The hidden costs of poor quality translation can swiftly mount up. Businesses that operate over international borders and which are looking to save money would do well to think twice before making cuts to their translation service!

Involving a translation company in your international marketing venture from the beginning can make a significant difference to your chance of success. Whether you are researching local customs, looking for information on preferred marketing techniques in your target market or presenting information about your product, having someone on hand who speaks the language fluently is a key part of the process. 

A good translator who can handle everything from marketing information to website translation services can quickly become an invaluable part of your international marketing strategy.

Ultimately free translation is no match for professional translation services. Google translate can have a undesirable impact on the image and brand identity of any business striving to market its name and products on the international market.

Machine translation should never be used for content with personal data or other sensitive information. Information becomes the property of Google the minute it is uploaded which could breach European data protection regulations and/or confidentiality agreements you have established with your clients.

In conclusion, it is not recommended to use machine translators like Google Translate or Yahoo’s Babelfish for professional purposes because of the high level of inaccuracies in their translations.

The ATC Guide to Buying Translation Services helps you make the most of your partnership with an ATC Member.