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Why One Can’t Trust Online Translation Tools

In the past several years there appeared a lot of online translation tools that offer from simple phrases to the whole website translation into multiple languages. One of them is Google Translate, which, in comparison to other language translation tool, claims to use a “statistical translation system for the language pairs” instead of the rule-based approach that “requires a lot of work to define grammar and vocabularies.”

What the company actually means with their technology is that they “feed the computer billions of words of text, both monolingual text in the target language, and aligned text consisting of examples of human translations between the languages. We then apply statistical learning techniques to build a translation model.”

Obviously the design of such a “potluck” system has the initial flaw, as there can’t be too many chefs in the kitchen. Even though users can easily contribute by using the Suggest a Better Translation link if they see that a word or a text has been poorly translated by the computer – it doesn’t guarantee that these suggestions made by native speakers would be precise and accurate for each case scenario where each word may have a various number of usages and meanings. It is great to have someone to test the accuracy of the tool, as they can easily identify a poorly translated part of the text since they have a good background of grammar rules but it’s virtually impossible to substitute an intricate design of a complex ideas and idiomatic expressions with just a push of a button.


It a great idea to check the quality of the language translator tool by suggesting a better translation but it will remain utopia tool for the end user – what does one do if their translation request doesn’t boil down to simple “how are you” type of phrase and there is no time for numerous reviews by local native speakers volunteers who happen to browse the website just in time when you happened to send your highly technical text for translation?

Professional proof-reading service can be just what you need in this case to avoid costly mistakes. Transl8 offers next day proof reading for short-to-mid size marketing materials and business correspondence as well as translation rush services in over 60 languages.

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4 Comments on Why One Can’t Trust Online Translation Tools

  1. Louis on Sun, 18th Jul 2010 01:56
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  3. Jesica on Thu, 29th Jul 2010 14:08
  4. Greetings, I love your website. This is a good site and I wanted to post a note to let you know, nice job!

  5. Daniel on Fri, 17th Dec 2010 05:18
  6. great post, thanks for sharing

  7. Olchuil on Thu, 3rd Feb 2011 11:34
  8. Aloha! Thank you for your blog! Honestly I have never read anything that informative.

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