News | 29.09.2012

Oh, queridos amigos! The dangers of using Google Translate

A reputed newspaper in the U.S. wanted to impress its Spanish-speaking readers and publish Spanish translations of English articles on its website – unfortunately the results weren’t that positive thanks to Google Translate.

The population in Hartford (Connecticut) has a high percentage of Spanish speakers. The Hartford Courant had therefore decided to publish its website in Spanish – Courant en Español. To achieve this the newspaper relied initially on the machine translator Google Translate.

Because of the limited ability of the program to understand context and grammatical rules many of the articles were incomprehensible to Spanish speakers.

The newspaper decided on this approach as they would have been charged for a professional translator. Instead of investing in professional translation services the newspaper found another solution: To improve the translations, they will now count on the help of bilingual citizens. This crowdsourcing project allows every reader to translate the articles or improve existing translations. The main downside to this approach is that the Hartford Courant has no control over its own content, and has to rely on its readers to provide accurate translations.

Whether the translations are checked again for accuracy, is not known. Who guarantees that the reader has translated the source correctly?

The only way to guarantee that your message is not lost in translation is to employ the services of a professional translation agency!


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