31 Jan

Can Google Translate Replace Human Translators?

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Siri doesn't understand me.

Approximately 75 percent of the time, I utter a command and Siri says some variation of, "I'm sorry. I didn't catch that." At first I assumed it was me, but when I complained about it to a friend, he pointed out that voice translation is a very complex technology. So complex, in fact, that when someone invests in the full version of Dragon Dictate, eight to ten minutes of "training" are required to allow the software the chance to learn a user's particular vocal quirks.

So when I read about Google Translate's ability to instantly translate 64 languages, I was skeptical. We've all used online translation services before and had our multilingual colleagues tell us the translation is off by a mile. But when Google does something, it puts the full power of today's top technology into it, so Google Translate could be just the thing to solve all of business's problems today. No need to send documents out to some high-priced translation service. A couple of clicks and your document is translated.

Or is it?

Like so many translation services before it, Google Translate has the ability to translate words and phrases but it lacks the context that a human being has, so many of the translations make little sense. "Have a nice day" might end up translated as "take with you a happy day," for example.While these translations can be great for getting a general feel for what a document is stating, experts urge that they should not be relied upon the same way a business would, say, rely on a human translator.

As advanced as computers have become, it seems there is still no substitute for human reason. Seems the human brain is so complex, it's impossible to replace it with a logic-based electronic device.

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Read 9869 times Last modified on Thursday, 31 January 2013 04:28
Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and novelist whose work has appeared on,, the Intuit Small Business Blog, and many others. She is the Simon & Schuster author of 8 children's books, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series, 25 Roses, and 30 Days of No Gossip.


  • Comment Link Japanese ninja Monday, 15 July 2013 18:14 posted by Japanese ninja

    One thing I've had to think about is to remember to refrain from excluding audiences and markets. There are some people on twitter, e.g. the Hong Kong Cantonese or Japanese, with huge numbers of users. Obviously there are difficulties where we do not communicate in their audience's language. But think about this: just one once-a-week translator could add 50,000 followers. Wouldn't that be worth it?

  • Comment Link ellen Tuesday, 09 July 2013 12:48 posted by ellen

    Using Facebook is a unique way to promote, if known how to use it right. Probably why many pages fail to take off is that the administrator's don't speak their fan's language. We all know it's not easy, as it's tricky to grow a nice-sized fan base.

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