In the 21st century, globalization and technological innovations are leading the way for businesses. Both have allowed us to cross borders, communicate with other continents, and discover new languages. All this has been facilitated by technology, which allows us to interact online with people who literally live on the other side of the planet.
However, one of the first barriers that can get in the way of interpersonal relationships is language. It is true that English is the universal language, and that it is most used when communicating with people whose native language is different from yours. Despite this, it is common to encounter the problem that we do not have English as internalized as we would like.
At this point, having access to smartphones and the Internet, we resorted to the simplest option of all: an online translator and, more specifically, Google Translator, the best known to all.
This online translator was launched in 2006 and has been one of Google’s most popular tools ever since. The platform, which is accessed by more than 200 million people a day, has a translation capacity of 103 languages.
Although it is increasingly accurate in languages such as English and Spanish, as they are the most widely spoken languages in the world, it cannot be guaranteed that it will accurately and reliably translate any language. Also, for languages like Basque or some with less population of speakers, it gets even more difficult to find translations that can meet quality standards..
Association of German translation companies list the drawbacks Google Translate has:
Being an online translator, that is, a machine, it is prepared to translate robotically and mechanically. In other words, it is prepared to translate, but not to interpret.
This is one of the main drawbacks that an online translator like Google Translate has compared to translations carried out by a professional in the sector. What other disadvantages does it present? We tell you:
- The translation will never be perfect: Although a text translated by an online translation tool reaches a high level of precision today, it cannot reach the level of translation that a professional translator offers you.
- Inconsistencies in grammar: As already mentioned, the robot translates mechanically, without making sense of the phrase or context. A translator not only translates, but he or she also interprets the meaning of the general text, ensuring that it makes complete sense.
- Colloquial expressions and language: Just as an online translator does not make sense of the phrase, neither is it prepared to learn the culture of the language and to be able to interpret certain colloquial or figurative expressions.
- Machine translations do not grasp human emotion: Unless programmed with artificial intelligence technology, machine translations cannot grasp human emotion. Humour, irony, sarcasm, etc. are certain aspects often overlooked by these online tools.
- Machine translations fail to detect errors: Since some machine translations do not identify errors, they do not perform rectification of these errors either.
In short, when moving from one language to another, the translator, without interpretive or cultural knowledge of the language, will be able to translate word by word, without giving a contextual relevance to everything. In contrast, a professional translator has the ability to achieve a 100% accurate translation, without grammatical inconsistencies and with a complete sense of the text.