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Is Google Translate the perfect tool for all your translating needs?

Here we are in a world where we find ourselves needing to communicate more and more with people across the globe and it can be tricky if we don’t speak their language. Whether you are exporting your product to different countries and need a locally translated website, you need to send important work emails to your colleagues in China or you are giving a presentation to your foreign colleagues, it can be a costly and confusing minefield.

Business language courses are an important tool to help you improve your language skills and to increase your confidence but if you do not have the time or budget perhaps Google Translate could help you.

But is Google Translate the perfect tool to solve all your translation problems?

Answer: Yes and No.

Google Translate has improved significantly since it first appeared on our computer screens over 10 years ago. Today, using artificial intelligence, you can instantly translate a piece of writing (words, phrases and even entire web pages!) into over 100 different languages at the click of a button from your mobile phone via an app…without needing to learn an entirely new language! You can even play the translation aloud which negates the need for pronunciation training and it means you can play it directly to the person you are trying to communicate with in their local language.

However, according to Bill Swallow at Scriptorium, successful translation depends on 3 key things – audience, subject matter and quality.

  1. Audience – Does your audience expect high quality content tailored to them or are they happy to accept some obvious flaws? You need to know your audience’s expectations before deciding which translation route to follow.
  2. Subject matter – does your content include highly technical terms that may not be understood by a computer and must be translated accurately?
  3. Quality – are you using a lot of slang, colloquialisms or jargon that cannot be avoided? You need a translation into a culturally appropriate version rather than being translated literally.

In conclusion, Google Translate is a useful tool to get the basic flow from a piece of writing or to communicate basic text or phrases into another language but there are many facets to language that a computer cannot accurately translate i.e. formal and informal phrasing, idioms, sentence structure and context. If your audience is happy to accept some errors then Google Translate is very useful but if 100% accuracy is critical then you should look into other translation options. There are many highly qualified translators out there and if you cannot afford for them to do the full translation then they may sense-check your google translated version for a lower fee. Or there is always the option to start learning the language yourself…after all, there are many reasons to learn languages!


For more information on our translation services or to arrange your own business language training please call us on 0203 036 0760 or email info@languagetraining.com



Read more of our language-related blogs:

5 reasons why face-to-face language training is better than an app

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