The Dangerous Seas of Machine Translation

Wes Trochlil pointed me to an article in which he was quoted that has suffered from round trip machine translation. The original article was in English, translated to something else and then back to English in this version. According to the article now, Wes has received his first naval commission, becoming Admiral of Effective Database Management.

Round trip machine translation such as this exaggerates the errors but shows very well why automated translation simply doesn’t cut it for critical content. It’s good enough to get a sense of what the text is about but if your content is important enough to translate for key audiences then it is important enough to do so with qualified human translators. They may be assisted by automated software but still add their critical value to the process.

If this topic is relevant to your web efforts, check out my article Web Design Implications for Translated Web Sites.

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