“Hi there. Can you help us understand what our Chinese partners want from us?”
“Let’s see… Wow, what is that???”
“Well, we used to communicate with them using Google Translate. But now we’re stuck”
Not a rare occasion for us. Some customers tend to save on professional translation services and use Google Translate instead. Their wish to cut costs and adhere to modern technologies is rather understandable. To tell you the truth, we also use Google Translate for our personal needs sometimes. But there are situations where it just doesn’t work.
When is it acceptable?
- For general understanding. As an example, you’ve received a letter from a foreign sender and want to get a general idea out of it.
- When reading NON highly-specialized sources in any foreign language. Automatic translation will be useful for catching the main point, the rest depends on the reader’s fantasy :)
- For daily chatting with foreign friends. Can be used for translation in both directions. However, both conversation partners should understand that things can get more complicated after some time and there’s a risk to turn communication into Chinese whispers.
- For translation of presentation materials, websites, brochures, advertisements, etc. Every word is of great significance here, since it should influence the audience in a certain way. After all, it’s just shortsighted for a self-respecting company to go for export with a website automatically translated with Google Translate. We insistently recommend using professional translation service and – ideally – involving a native speaker.
- When translating texts aimed for wide audience: articles, publications, reference letters, testimonials, etc. The wider your audience is, the more attention is paid to every letter of the text. Chances are, a bad translation will be quoted every now and then, and it will long live in people’s memory. Would you wish such notoriety to anyone?
- For important negotiations, business-related discussions, terms and conditions coordination, just as in the example above. Every word should be well measured, even if you’re dealing with partners from your own country. Not to mention foreign ones, with all the differences between your cultures and languages.
- For translation of legal documents, contracts, agreements, etc. – it’s just a no-brainer. A single discrepancy in a document can easily cause great troubles.
Thus, Google Translate and other automatic translation tools are here to stay. But they’re unable to compete with us yet, sorry. There are few cases where they work 100%.
Only professional translation services!