Most-Common-Phrases-in-3-Most-Common-language translation software products

How Good are Language Translation Software Products?

January 3, 2022

Just about everyone has or will use Google Translate or some kind of online language translation dictionary at some point.

Maybe it’s to find out what that Bhutanese Chess player said to you in the chat.

Maybe it’s just for fun, or maybe it’s for something more substantial, like figuring out what the tech support guy is saying about your VPN.

If you can relate, just imagine how useful language translation services would be for business.

When your bottom line is at stake, Google Translate or even more expensive language translation software has only limited capabilities.

For example, research has found that Google Translate, the most used online language translation service is only 60% accurate when applied to medical discharge guidelines.

In healthcare, that’s nowhere near good enough.

But what about for other business purposes?


How Useful is Language Translation Software?

Computer-generated translations are rendered by programs that use formal and systematic rules to generate translations.

That means they cannot handle dialects, context, cultural relevance, or inflection. Here are a few examples of translation errors in advertising.

  • KFC: “Finger-Lickin’ Good” translates in Chinese to “We’ll eat your fingers off.”
  • American Dairy Association: “Got milk?” translates in Spanish to “Are you lactating?”
  • Ford: “Every car has a high-quality body,” translates in Belgian to “Every car has a very nice corpse inside.”

These are just a few examples of high-profile messaging failures that cost large corporations millions in sales.

One might ask the question, “How could they let this happen?”

The answer is, that using a translation dictionary or a translation software suite can never guarantee that all the nuance necessary will find its way into the final translation, and the people that use them tend to have far too much confidence in the translations they generate.

In advertising, the result can be hilarious, and few would think that the companies responsible actually mean what they said in the target language.

But in your everyday communications, mistakes like these might be much more difficult to disregard and could cause great offense, costing you valuable clients or partners.


Why These Tools Aren’t as Effective as Human Translators

Automation may deliver superior performance in many areas of productivity, but language processing is not one of them- not yet anyway.

The advantages of human-driven translation services are exactly inverse to the weaknesses of software-based translation.

In order to achieve the best results, a translator needs what in psychology we refer to as a “theory of mind.”

That is, we need a functioning idea of what the recipient of our message needs, wants, and how they think.

Finally, translation software is cheaper- but you get what you pay for.

In the long run, accurate, expert translation could save you millions by preventing some of the disastrous mishaps exemplified above!


Do You Need Help Getting Your International Messaging Correct?

Here at Etcetera Translations, our team provides robust, certified language translation services.

Our team of talented, multilingual translation experts is fluent in dozens of languages spoken in numerous economically vibrant locations to ensure your clients, customers, and partners get the right message to and from you every time.

Don’t leave your multinational messaging needs to chance.

Get in touch with the Etcetera Language Group, Inc. today for world-class business translation services.

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