We’ve all done it. It’s easy to pull up Google Translate and type in a foreign language phrase you’re unfamiliar with and get a quick translation to understand its meaning. However, there are some significant limitations to using free translation software.
I learned my lesson when I used Babel Fish (the precursor to Google Translate) to add captions to some photographs during my daughter’s adoption process. One photo of her cousin included what I thought was the Russian translation for “This is your cousin, Max.” My Russian attorney was reviewing the photographs during one of our visits and started laughing. He pointed to the picture and asked me what I thought the caption said. After a chuckle, he told me, “What you wrote is ‘Your cousin is HUGE!”
While this makes for a heartwarming and humorous memory, these types of translation mistakes can result in challenges, obstacles, and denials in legal situations. Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t use free translation programs for essential applications, forms, and other documents:
- Many of these translation programs are literal translations and are not complex enough to understand the context. A qualified translator isn’t just fluent in the source and target language; they know the nuances of terms and phrases based on the specific context. There are many cases when a direct translation doesn’t exist, and a translator will use his best judgment to select the closest match to the words or phrases.
- Because of the coding software solutions use, most are not sophisticated enough to select proper grammar and punctuation correctly. Just as phrases in English can have different meanings based on commas, other languages require appropriate punctuation to reflect accurate translations.
- Depending on the online free translation software you choose, it might not be operated by professionals. Typically free programs lack regular updating, are not monitored for accuracy, and rely on coded algorithms. Google Translate, for example, will allow anyone who can prove language proficiency using their online testing program to participate in generating translations for their software. Cloud sourcing provides a great deal of data quickly and easily, but as they’ve discovered, not everyone who contributes to their database takes translation seriously.
When you have essential documents requiring translation, choose the professionals at The Perfect Translation.
Rely on professional services from The Perfect Translation when your work involves important documentation. We provide certified and notarized document translation services for all document types associated with industries such as immigration, business, real estate, financial, academic, legal, and medical. Contact us today for a free quote!