YourCulture believe that automatic, machine, translation tools are extremely exciting in enabling the world to communicate. However we also believe that machine translation tools are not a replacement for quality, human translators. This story highlights the issue with machine translation tools.
A British couple who decided to retire in Bulgaria wrote to a Bulgarian website owner to complain about what seemed to be the use of swear words within it’s site – but the story has turned out to be slightly different than the couple originally thought.
The couple, who do not read or speak Bulgarian, pasted text from the website through Google Translate, trying to find out details regarding flights to share with family.
Unfortunately when the couple pasted the information into the translation tool they omitted a critical hyphen in the Bulgarian language transliteration of the word “check-in” – the term used was Чекин Информация – Google Translate mistook the initial word with a vulgar Bulgarian expression. The result was a translation that read: “F…ing Information”.
Offended, the couple wrote to the owners of the site to complain. However, elsewhere on the same site, “check-in” is typed as чек-ин – with that very important hyphen – which when processed through the Google Translate tool reveals an accurate, and much more predictable, result.
The tale is a cautionary one, and one of many mistakes that can happen when using automatic translation systems. They can be useful for getting the general idea of what a text contains, but for any translation that needs to be accurate please use a qualified, experienced human translator!
If you want to ensure that your translation is perfect and does not cause any confusions please call us on +44 (0) 203 2868026