“Google Translate is bad for business. Period.” Many articles start and end with this message. However, it is often unclear why a relatively accurate machine translation is so terrible. I am convinced that people who think in black and white are wrong. I won’t tell you that machine translation is bad and wrong - it is not. Still, I am here to tell you about some disadvantages and underlying issues of using the search engine’s translator in business texts, websites, or sales emails. Remember that machine can translate correctly; still, for the business, it is often not enough. The consequences of incorrect translation are not obvious, but they may gradually and consistently decrease your sales. Here is why.
■ The machine has no style.
It is intuitively understood, but often, people do not care. They think: “So what? Translators are people. They are not perfect, too.” However, the machine differs from a live person in terms of translation. It will calculate 14-digit numbers, but it may lose text stylistics, message, and overall tone. The machine risks in giving you a dry text which no one would bother to read.
■ Google translation is not appealing to your audience.
Let’s imagine that your copywriting experts created a product description. It may not have many words in it, but it will bring millions of sales. Every part of such texts is golden due to perfect word combinations. When you Google translate, you lose all the efforts of your specialists. The machine often gives word-for-word translation, which is not appealing to your customers. Think twice before using Google Translate as a copywriter.
■ Sentence structure is wrong.
Often, Google regains the sentence structure of the original language. For the target audience, it may sound weird. They will wonder who and why wrote the text this way. They may get suspicious. Google may also turn product descriptions into a nightmare of wordy, unclear construction that looks awful. Think twice before using it in this case.
■ It is not prestigious.
Try it yourself. Type in several words in your area of interest in search engines. Look at the site, which has its pages nicely translated. You can pick languages on a menu and enjoy the result. Next, look at the site with the Google Translation plugin button. Translate the webpage. Of course, it is not the same. Next, try using the Isaccurate you find to localize certain parts of your text and compare them to your Google-translated page. The latter sounds less professional and unreliable.
■ Machine translation shows a lack of care.
Of course, when you translate into the other language, your target audience can see it. They know it’s for business purposes. Still, they feel valued because you took time and money to tailor the website just for them. They will be likely to stay and buy from you again.
■ Google can’t localize.
Yeah, translation is good, but localization is much better. Although Google can provide your customers with basic info about you, it won’t adjust it to people’s culture. Surely, translators know how to appeal to the audience in Chinese or Hindi. They will avoid culturally inappropriate things. The machine is not so smart yet.
■ Google can’t deal with rare languages.
Although data shows that Google can translate well to Spanish, German, and Italian, it lacks accuracy in Chinese, Hindi, and Japanese. This is the fact to consider if you aim at less used and more complicated language. For example, Hungarian is the most difficult language in the world. Surely, Google Translation will fail here.
■ Google can make up things.
Recently, the neural machine translation results have been a subject of broad discussion. The thing is, when you enter certain combinations of digits and words, the machine “makes up” the results by giving strange word combinations that are often scary or funny. Thus, if you do use Google Translate, be sure to double-check results.
■ Lack of proofreading.
Google cannot proofread itself. Therefore, when you use it, do not forget to turn to professional translation services or native speakers to make sure that your texts are perfect. The machine may leave you with typos, logic inconsistencies, and inappropriately chosen words. Surely, you do not need such a translation.
In the modern world, there exist many options for basic translation. One of them is Google Translate. This is the most popular tool that may turn the text in any language into readable, informative pieces. Still, it is far from perfect. For example, it won’t make your product appeal to the audience due to the lack of copywriting skills. It won’t proofread its texts or correct mistakes. It can insert unnecessary words and change sentence structures. Plus, when you use Google Translate, your customers can see it. They understand that you did not spend your time and money to translate the website for them. That is why it can be bad for your business.
Henry Mcdowell is a language specialist whose primary interests lie in linguistics, translation, and research. He writes a blog to help people write their essays and copywriting posts correctly. In free time, Henry enjoys sports and watching serials.