Google Translate has gotten better over time but it is still not accurate enough for business
It is said that with the latest upgrades to the tool the new Google Translate is 60 percent more accurate than the old Google Translate tool, which used phrase-based machine translation, or PBMT. This may be good enough for tourists learning to communicate in a new foreign-language, but it’s definitely not good enough for translating websites professionally, given that neural networks do not understand the meaning, and lots is lost in translation, mostly contextual errors that could make a business look very bad..
So why are many business owners and marketing agencies still using the Google Translate tool for translating websites?
Given the fact that Google Translate is free and readily available online, it’s easy to understand why many business owners might be drawn to it when considering options for translating their website content. Translating content on your website to provide a bilingual website and reach more prospects requires an investment to ensure quality.
Cutting corners and trying to save money by using Google Translate though, could actually do more harm than help your business. As said previously, Google Translate might be fine for travelers, but let us reemphasize the fact that there is nothing like a professional website translation service for your business content.
As a business owner, you spend significant amounts of time working on cultivating your brand values and integrity as well as protecting your customer data. While it might be tempting to save time and money by using a free quick-to-install tool, it should be kept in mind that Google Translate was never developed to meet the needs of businesses. Google Translate, in fact, has several potential pitfalls, some of which are listed below:
1. Security concerns
It should always be kept in mind that once you have entered any content into Google’s translation tool, that content then belongs to Google. If you are trying to translate sensitive business data, including anything related to contractual relations, this could put you in serious legal jeopardy. Suppose there is a misunderstanding or even an unintended implication due to an inaccuracy in translated content because you relied on automated translation. When you work with a professional translation service, you do not have to worry about this problem. The security of your content is guaranteed.
It is important to observe that companies may think it’s more cost-effective to avoid using a translation company and take advantage of the free service instead, oblivious to the fact that Google collects all of the translated data. This is especially dangerous when key confidential information is involved.
2. Lack of specialization for business
Additionally, Google Translate does not offer a specialization option for business. Instead, when you enter text into the tool, it will simply translate that content word for word. As any translator will tell you; you cannot translate between two languages word for word. Not with accuracy. The result not only will lack accuracy but could even end up being somewhat outlandish. This is certainly not the impression you want to give business prospects. Instead, it’s much better to invest in professional translation service and work with someone who actually speaks that language to craft bilingual content. Furthermore, when dealing with Spanish-language content for the Hispanic market one needs to also take into account localization besides translation, many call this trans-creation.
Always seek legal counsel regarding the implications of not localizing some or all content when selling in a new market or when offering certain types of regulated products and services to a multilingual domestic audience.
To conclude, free translation tools like Google Translate are convenient and affordable, but they simply hold no match for a professional translation service. In fact, relying on such a service could have a negative impact on your company’s brand and image. Don’t get me wrong, Google Translate has gotten better over time as a consumer-level tool, but it cannot replace human translators as a business-level or enterprise-level tool, at least at the time of this writing (July 26, 2020). Investing in languages pays, and that includes not only professional translators but also professional writers and proofreading services, isn’t that right Richard? ;)!