10 Clues to Detect Translations With Google by Word Philocaly
The world is full of deceptions, and when the crisis hits and with the increasingly absurd deadlines that customers ask for, many would be in despair and would have seen their lifeline in automatic translation.
In this article, Word Philocaly will give you ten clues to detect that a translation has been done with Google, which is an unmistakable sign. Many editors may have been very conscientious, but something always sneaks in, and here we will tell you how to know if you have been taken for a ride.
Here is a guide to finding the most common errors in translations with Google that is everything but human-like. Logically, in addition to the quality problem, there is another problem: confidentiality, the protection of the client’s trade secrets, and even copyright.
Finally, the translation provider may have signed a contract with the company or agency that expressly prevents working with Google or similar machine translation / automatic translation systems. Therefore, if translators used these tools, they would be violating the signed agreement (that is, they could allege a breach of contract).
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Indications That a Text Has Gone Through Google Translate
That said, there are various reasons a translation is of average quality, even if it has gone through editors. For instance, the language editor might have a bad day; the translator was not a native speaker; the translator just copied and pasted whatever was translated with a machine.
In this article, we will give some clues for those who want to know if a text results from translations with Google.
1. The Formats:
The table formats do not convert well in Google Translate or the Google Translator Toolkit, and there are frequent cases of:
- Normal font changed to italic;
- Upper case changed to lowercase;
- Bold changed to italic;
- Color changes in the background of the cells (gray to white, black to gray, etc.);
- Font changes (Times New Roman to Arial, etc.).
Since it is unlikely that no one would engage a human translator in changing the background color of tables or changing the case in a table, don’t even doubt it: it smells like Google Translate.
2. British English to American English or Vice Versa:
This is another unmistakable sign. As much as they have post-edited, there will always be some US English that has slipped inadvertently.
For example, most forms end in –ize: organize, conceptualize, etc.
Another easy-to-spot example: the program instead of the programme (although some people utilizing UK English advocate using ‘program’ for computer programs and event programs, etc.).
But if it is a “program” and it refers to something that is not computer science, they do not have that excuse.
Another American vocabulary: restrooms for bathrooms, etc.
And if suddenly they are talking about restrooms instead of toilets, diapers instead of nappies, “toilet tissue” instead of “loo roll”, it’s not that translators are very fine when talking about bathrooms. It’s just that it smells like…Google.
However, don’t use this point as the only sign that people are doing translation with Google. If the translator is a native American or has been taught American English all their life, American English may be the English they use to translate.
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They have been telling us for years (thanks to the pernicious influence of Computer-Assisted Translations, a.k.a CATs) that all inconsistencies “are errors.” Although synonyms give richness to a text and are a sign of good writing, the types of inconsistencies we find in machine translation are different. They are inconsistencies that do not come to mind.
A physical “contract” will suddenly appear as “agreement” in one place, and then as “promise” in another over the text.
Translations with Google, inconsistencies appear all the time and side by side (even in the same table or the same section or sentence); and it is clear that there is no human effort in it at all.
4. Very Literal Translations – Expressions and Phrases:
There are so many examples that we could tell you here.
It is also noteworthy that in Spanish, there are many expressions and somewhat unique phrases that can’t be translated literally.
For example, “Supone una manera” means “It is” in Spanish. However, when it is translated with Google Translate, it will turn into “It supposes a manner”, which does not mean anything!
Another example, in Malay, “pakaian menjolok mata” means “revealing clothes” but when using Google Translate, the result is “clothes that prick the eyes”!
So, don’t even doubt it – IT’S GOOGLE!
5. Another Way of Literal Translations – Single Words:
Countless single words are mistranslated using translations with Google.
Words in Spanish like:
Campana means bell instead of stove hood
Words in Chinese like:
比较 means to a bigger degree instead of “compare”
好 to indicate a great degree instead of “good”
6. Does Not Recognize Spelling or Typographical Errors and Mistranslates Typos and Misspelled Phrases:
Machine translation doesn’t interpret anything; it translates what you say. Therefore, any misspelled sentence in the original will give rise to an incoherent sentence in the destination. These errors are much more common than we think because there are few well-written texts without errors, omissions, misused phrases, etc.
There are endless examples of bad writing; the bad thing is that we are so used to it that most of the population doesn’t even realize it.
Let’s say that in the original text, they write “heat sensors”. They have made a bad conversion of the PDF; the n has been joined with the s, and sensors have become “senor”. And senor means “gentlemen” in Spanish. If a human translator sees “turn on the heat senors” in a translation of a technical manual to Spanish, they would be a bit hesitant.
Still, they would eventually come to the conclusion that they refer to “heat sensors” after seeing a little bit of context or after doing some searching (maybe in Google itself) and realize that there is no such thing as “heat senor” and they are “sensors”.
But Google Translate does perform this operation and translates literally. Therefore, “turn on the heat sensors” becomes “turn on the hot men” when it is translated from Spanish to English.
Again, that’s Google Translate, everybody.
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7. Google Translate Doesn’t Translate Acronyms / Abbreviations Well
Persatuan Akauntan Percukaian Malaysia (MATA) will be translated to “eye” from Malay to English.
8. Convert Measurements Inaccurately
For instance, hecto (h) becomes hector.
Google Translate will always add something of its own in measurements for unknown reasons.
9. There Are Parts Without Translation in the Original Language:
Be careful because there are ALWAYS untranslated words in a document translated with machines or Google. Anything that an automatic translation comes across that doesn’t add up, they leave the original text untranslated. Google Translate also has difficulties with tables, and some cells will always remain untranslated.
10. It Also Translates the File Names
It’s an unusual sign, but when “Laporan Tahunan.docx” is suddenly translated into English (and sometimes poorly translated), it already tells you they’ve done it with Google.
Because a translator would put “Annual Report_EN” or would not translate the file name because it is not customary to do so. A very novice or unprofessional translator would save the file with a title that has nothing to do with it, such as: “Part 1”, “My little jobs”.
Translations with Google, Yay or Nay? The Conclusion
In conclusion, using Google Translate can be a great tool for basic translations, but it’s important to remember that it’s not perfect. If you’re trying to detect whether someone has used Google Translate to translate a text, there are a few key signs to look out for. Keep an eye out for awkward phrasing, unusual word choices, errors in grammar and syntax, inconsistencies in vocabulary, and an overall lack of natural flow.
By keeping these indicators in mind, you can better assess the accuracy of a translated text and avoid any embarrassing misunderstandings or miscommunications. Remember, while technology can be incredibly helpful, there’s no substitute for human expertise and experience when it comes to accurate and nuanced translations.
Human Translation with Word Philocaly’s Professional Services
Looking for a reliable and accurate translation service? Look no further than Word Philocaly! Our team of expert linguists and translators can provide high-quality translations for all your needs. Whether you need a document translated for business, academic, or personal purposes, we’ve got you covered. Plus, be sure to check out our blog for helpful tips and insights on language and translation. Give Word Philocaly a try today and experience the difference!
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