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Google Translate – Friend or Foe?

kwi 27

Admit it – you’ve probably used Google’s most famous language tool at some point in your life. Whether you had no idea what a word on a soda can meant, you didn’t recognize the language or simply could not remember that one word in a language you’re studying. Google Translate is a fast and free online tool that helps you to grasp the gist of a particular text. It’s no secret, however, that it is not the most accurate and reliable program, and without context it can bring up some crazy results.

Can you imagine that Google Translate is only 11 years old? It was introduced in April 2006 and since then has been improved and adjusted to work on smart phones and other mobile devices to help translate words in 103 languages. It is measured that more than 100 billion words are translated by Google Translate every day. Combine that together and you’ll get the world’s biggest essay that consists of the most random words and phrases! If you have ever wondered which language combinations are the most popular, here’s your answer: English (no surprise here) to Arabic, Portuguese, Russian and Indonesian. Funny, because the country with the most Google Translate users is Brazil.

If you have some time to spare, you can find videos of people typing phrases to translate from one language to another to achieve the craziest results. It gets even better when Google Translate starts to beat box. The Internet get crazy about typing song lyrics; Google translate it and then try to sing it again with the new versions. The results vary and that actually brings me to my next point: did you know that the Google empire doesn’t use it in their business related translations? Why? Well, mainly because this online translator simply cannot replace humans, and so working on such content would be highly unprofessional.

The number and types of errors are ridiculously high. Of course it will help tourists, and those who completely don’t speak a particular language but you cannot send a Google-translated text to you client or give it to your teacher (well, I guess you can but don’t expect a pass grade). The content you’ll receive will be mediocre at its best and that is probably not what you are aiming for. The lack of context is the main reason why robotic translation fails to produce a well-written text. And even though you can report an incorrect translation to Google, such translation tools always remain just a useful app.

Google Translate is not your enemy but it can be a prankster you cannot fully trust. That is why it’s a good idea to keep your mind open and always trust a human translator who can grasp the context, ask questions and use experience to give you the best translation possible.

Oh, and  here’s the link to the beat boxing video:

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(MW)

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