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Why Machine Translation is Dangerous

machine translation is dangerousOoops! Machine Translation is dangerous!

We read with amusement this morning an article in the The Irish Examiner. The paper  reports that a mistake has been made by Cork’s local authority translating the name of the world famous  “English Market” into Irish.

The translated sign read “Béarla sa Mhargadh”, which literally means – English in the Market!

We suspect they probably used one of the popular machine translation engines to do the translation.

A quick look at the “English Market” website or a quick call to the team at Star Translation Service would have saved some red faces.
A more appropriate translation would have been : “An Margadh Sasanach”.

Sometimes it is very easy for people with short translations to quickly jump to the internet for a free and quick translation.  Machine translation engines really are only gisting engines, to get the idea of roughly what something says. One of the key factors to quality translation is understanding the context of a word or phrase for translation. You always need to have some further information to fully understand the message. As an example the word “Armed”. Does this refer to a person with a weapon or a burglar alarm that is on – ‘armed’. The translation is very different depending on what you mean.

STAR provide professional translation services to clients in over 40 languages. We help our clients communicate effectively and accurately. We translate documents, websites and signs!.