Reading time: ~4 minutes
When you have to translate something important, you’ll often face a choice: hiring a professional translator or using the famous Google plugin. And while the latter may seem very beneficial – after all, it’s cheap and fast – we highly recommend avoiding that, if possible. All because machine translation has several essential drawbacks.
Of course, everything depends on the context; and if you want to translate a web document for your personal purposes, using Google Translate is reasonable. However, if you need to translate a website, business documents, or medical papers, going to a professional translation agency (for example, https://lighthouseonline.com, which offers both translation and interpreting services) should be your first choice. Read on to find why.
The Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Google Translate
It is Not 100% Accurate
Even if Google Translate gets the meaning right, it doesn’t necessarily translate it correctly. This means that you can’t rely on this kind of translation in official business documents, as you run the risk of them not making sense.
It Doesn’t Always Work for Different Dialects or Languages
As any bilingual person can tell you, a word can have several meanings depending on the country’s lives. So, it is a bit tricky to translate between two languages with different dialects.
If you’ve never dealt with this problem, then you may not understand its importance. Nevertheless, we suggest you don’t risk your money and time by relying on an automated machine translation.
It Often Gets the Grammatical Part Wrong
Despite what many people think, grammar is not just a set of rules. Grammar is also something that builds a bridge between two languages and cultures. Without understanding grammar, it isn’t straightforward to translate something correctly. And if Google mistranslates a sentence, it means that it doesn’t even understand the grammatical part! That wouldn’t work very well for you.
It doesn’t Take Context or Stylistics Into Account
In fact, Google Translate can understand only words but not the text’s specific context or stylistics. And that’s what a translator should always rely on – after all, in many languages, the same word can mean different things depending on the situation. For example, a bat in English can mean an animal or an item – and without understanding the context, you can’t tell what the other person had in mind.
As Google Translate doesn’t use any context or stylistic guides, we can only conclude that it cannot make a correct translation of difficult texts, especially if they include slang or sarcasm. This leads us to another problem…
It Misinterprets Sarcasm and Irony
This is probably the biggest reason you should never use Google Translate when translating something potentially important. Not only does it fail to make your sarcasm or irony understandable to other people, but it also interprets it in a wrong way. Basically, all we are saying is that using Google Translate for important texts can get you in a lot of trouble.
The Reasons Why You Should Go To a Professional When Translating
A professional Translator Is a Person Who Knows Both Languages Very Well
That’s a major advantage. After all, context, grammar, and style are things that Google Translate can’t grasp. It will never be able to combine them in a natural way to an experienced human being.
Professionals Can Handle Dialects and Cultural References
Dialect and culture are essential parts of translations that cannot be overlooked. They are like the sugar that makes the medicine go down. In fact, without them, any translation can make no sense to readers who don’t know the language(s) of their origin. This is exactly what happens when Google Translate tries to understand the meaning of a joke or sarcasm. It simply doesn’t have a sense of humor.
Professionals Can Use Slang and Idioms Properly
Google Translate can only understand common and neutral words but not slang or idioms. However, these phrases are an essential part of any interesting text, especially in creative fields like literature or journalism. And with the help of a professional translator, you can get the perfect translation even if you use slang.
Professionals Have an Understanding of Stylistics
Stylistic guides can help translators to make your text sound just as you imagined it when you wrote it. However, when translating something important for your business or your family, you want it to sound natural and perfect on both sides. And that’s exactly what writing stylistic guides is about – helping translators assimilate your message and express it properly in another language.
But When Can You Use Google Translate?
A professional translation is a perfect solution in any possible case, but it can be pretty costly. If you’re not a business owner or a famous person, there are several situations when you can use Google Translate:
- To translate pieces of text for your personal use, for example, to understand a web page’s broad context.
- To communicate with your pen pals or friends from other countries.
- When leisure traveling.
- When you need a quick translation, that doesn’t have to be perfect.
As the internet evolves, it offers you many life-saving services that you can access wherever and whenever you want. Calculating measurements, converting currency, translating things – if you need a quick solution to your problems, a chance is, you can easily find it on Google. But that doesn’t mean that you should use some of these services.
While the internet is a great way to translate something quickly for your personal use, it can be a false friend when you need to take care of business-related arrangements. Google Translate doesn’t understand context, stylistics, and idioms, misinterprets sarcasm, and often gets grammar wrong – all that can put you in an uncomfortable situation.
And trust us: you don’t want to explain to someone why you called them a pig instead of darling.
So, our recommendation is to avoid Google Translate whenever possible and go for a professional translation instead. That way, you can be sure that your text will be perfectly translated, taking all its essential details into account.
Thank you for reading!