Human Translation vs Google Translate

Google Translate is a fascinating and continuously evolving online resource that currently allows users to translate single words and short phrases directly and surprisingly accurately into 50 international languages.


The app version even allows users to take a photo of signs in 27  languages and have them translated, a huge boon for travelers! – The Observer

Although Google Translate has moved forward in leaps and bounds it is still an ineffective and even dangerous way to translate longer sentences, phrases and paragraphs, particularly for business or government purposes.

As Digital Trends points out in the following hilarious example, something always gets lost in translation. That’s what IKEA found out when a Reddit user slipped its “Gosa Raps” pillow into Google Translate and got back “Cuddle Rapes”

Google Translate Problems

As Burg Translations points out, Google Translate is best equipped for light use, and not for more serious translation projects. Its uses are limited because it cannot pick up colloquial phrases or local dialect and often includes literal translations.

Computer translation software often falls short when companies rely on it for accurate translation of their important documents.

Another problem inherent in computer software translations is the inability to quality check the translations Google produces (when translating into a foreign language.) This lack of quality control often necessitates the hiring of someone to quality check the translations and nullifies the value of Google Translate as a free tool.

Google is working on making their ‘Translate’ software and app more accurate with a type of artificial intelligence called ‘Deep Learning’. According to Venturebeat this involves training neural networks on lots of data and then having them make predictions about new data. Read more about this here.

While Google continues its fascinating research, there is still no replacement for professional, trained translators on the horizon.

Until then, IL Consultancy has a fantastic pool of expert translators in South African and international languages. Contact us for more information today.