Why No Translation Agency Recommends Google Translate?
The easy access to free translation tools may provoke you to ask why you should not use Google Translate for your business. The answer is simple—it may significantly compromise your brand identity and destroy customer trust. Customized MT provided by a translation agency is the reasonable alternative.
How Does Google Translate Work?
When Google Translate was launched in 2006, it was able to provide translation only between English and Arabic. Now it supports 103 languages and has more than 500 million users per day, 92 percent of whom come from outside the U.S. as per the official statistics provided by Google.
Google Translate is a statistical machine translation service that learns from translated documents on the web to provide the best match for the text you want to translate. The accuracy of the translated text is questionable and depends highly on the type of source content used, as well as on the language combination.
There were three primary sources used to train the SMT system Google uses—the Bible, mystery novels, and United Nations and European Union documentation, which is one of the reasons European language combinations render a higher quality translation.
With the introduction of Google Neural Machine Translation (GNMT) in November 2016, Google issued a report on Bridging the Gap between Human and Machine Translation stating that translation errors have been reduced by 60 percent compared to the initial translation system deployed.
Still, the tool is far from being able to replace professional translation services and should be used for fun or leisure activities, but not for business.
Main Reasons Why You Should Not Use Google Translate for Business Purposes
Google Translate can be used by travelers to translate road signs or menus, but it is not the best option for companies to explore for their translation projects, especially if they aim at international growth.
There are several reasons why you should not use Google Translate for your business translations and the main ones are related to your company’s integrity, brand values, and customer data protection.
If you are tempted by the free tool to save some resources, note that you may end up paying dearly for your choice since Google Translate is not developed to serve businesses.
Here are some of the traps that you may not be aware of:
- Google Translate should never be used for translating highly-sensitive content that contains personal data or other important information. Once you enter the text in the tool, it becomes property of Google, and they can use the data to their discretion. This may result in breaches of regulations or contractual relations that you have established with your partners, customers or vendors.
- The level of machine translation provided is not customized to your specific business needs. The software will translate word for word, which, in most cases, will lead to inaccurate and often ridiculous output. You do not want to greet your prospective clients with a sloppy website translation that sends the wrong message of your company being unwilling to make an extra effort and actually speak their language.
- Misunderstandings due to errors in translation could compromise safety levels and entail financial concerns, often leading to legal disputes as consequences. This conclusion was reached in a paper on Investigating the Use of Google Translate in “Terms and Conditions” in an Airline’s Official Website: Errors and Implications with the findings of the research calling for awareness of using translation tools and Google Translate in particular for the airline industry. The conclusions can be applied to any other industry and scope of business as well.
- Translations are managed automatically, but there is a possibility of manual output by users. In other words, someone might purposefully suggest an incorrect alternative to a certain word or phrase translation for the sheer purpose of having fun. This action, if unnoticed, may have significant consequences for your business.
- Automated translation systems are prone to bugs, which may actually increase the time and effort for getting certain content translated from one language into another.
- Back translation cannot be trusted to signify correct, accurate, fluent, or appropriate translation.
The general conclusion is that free translation is no match to professional translation services. Free online translation tools such as Google Translate can have a negative impact on the image and brand identity of a startup that is striving to impose its name and products on the international market.
What Is the Alternative to Google Translate?
Machine translation cannot outrank human translation, but can be an efficient tool in the hands of professional translators.
Your translation agency can offer highly customized MT software that has been trained with your company’s specific data in order to produce a reliable output. MT output can then be post-edited by subject-matter expert translators to provide a high-quality translation that is both accurate and tailored to the needs of the target end user.
Machine translation can save you time and money if utilized properly. Ask your LSP to provide you with a solution that will produce reliable translation to be utilized for less important translation projects or for internal use, such as to translate customer reviews or help your staff get the gist of the newest research in your area.
When it comes to translation, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, as offered by the free online translation tools, that can help your business actually grow.
Machine translation can be a viable and cost-efficient solution only if it is used with discretion as advised by the European Association for Machine Translation. Computer-aided translation software can improve the productivity of translators and should be reviewed as an assisting tool and not as a replacement of a professional translation service.
You can check the list of recommended services to facilitate your startup’s international growth by downloading our free white paper titled “The Global Marketer’s Checklist for Buying Translation Services.”