There is no doubt that online translators such as Google Translate are fun tools for a rainy afternoon. However, when companies rely on such services to translate their business website, unintentional humor is often the result. While translating with Google Translate can be amusing when it’s all just fun and games, there are serious limitations to online translators that make them inappropriate for business use.
Unlike human translators, who understand the nuances of language, idioms, and geography, online translators only translate literally. When businesses try to appeal to a global audience by using translators, they often run into trouble. A company will sometimes use Google Translate to translate an ecommerce website into many languages, hoping to attract customers across the globe. Unfortunately, the results are often inaccurate and even undecipherable. In some cases, readers in other languages cannot understand what an online translator has translated for them. This makes it actually harder to connect with potential clients across the globe. And in almost all cases, such automatic translations don’t look very professional.
For example, Google Translate cannot tell the difference between “Georgia” the US state and “Georgia” the country (which is also sometimes spelled Grusia). If you use Google Translate for your company website and translate the word “Georgia” the online translator can place your business in the US state in some languages and in Grusia in other languages — that’s sure to be confusing for customers and embarrassing for you!
If you are writing a holiday card to your aunt and want to write “happy holidays” in another language, free online translators are a perfectly good choice. If you are creating a website – especially a business website – you need translations that are accurate and that reflect the professionalism of your business. This means that you need professional, experienced translators who can give your website the attention it deserves.