Translation Industry News | 22.07.2009

Taiwan Railways Administrations Criticised for Poor Quality Translation

Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) have been strongly criticised for producing error-strewn translations in a travel guide provided at one of their stations.

It is thought that TRA made use of computer software for translation from Chinese into English. Unfortunately, the limitations of such an approach have been highlighted only too clearly.

It is thought that a reliance on software has led to literal Chinese translations, something that a skilled translator would never produce.

Among many other errors, ‘Providence University’ became ‘quiet proper university’ while ‘Taichung Metro Harbour Hospital’ became ‘kid general hospital’.

The mistakes had not been spotted as the majority of station staff are unable to read English. They were only picked up by an English traveller passing through who commented:

“Foreigners coming to Taiwan should make sure they learn Chinese, as they will struggle to understand these translations.”

This incident is a clear example of why it is unwise to rely on machine translation tools. To ensure you have a good, reliable translation it is always advisable to use professional translation services, as only then can you be sure that your translated document will be of the highest quality.

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