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News – Internet Translation
2009.01.26

The perils of internet translation

The Financial Times today carries an article on the risks of computerised translation. A participant at a conference on blogging had suggested that language still divided the blogosphere, to which the moderator had advised using computer-generated translation. The FT’s correspondent, however, recalled that internet translations had been ‘pretty hopeless’ in his experience. He therefore tested the state of the technology. The results were not encouraging. One sentence from a Polish newspaper was returned in English as, ‘Economic crisis and changing lifestyles, the French seriously affect the profits of French cafes and restaurants. A sign of the collapse of the French culture of the restaurant is visible on the streets of Paris rash of quick-service bar, offering generally pogardzane a few years ago and cheeseburgery hamburgers.’

Translation software as it currently exists is only really suitable for translating road signs and menus. The development of more powerful processors and better programs will improve their translations, but even once these obstacles have been overcome it will still be an immense challenge for any non‑human translator to relay idiom and linguistic nuance fluently. For now, then, Global Lingo will rely exclusively on experienced professional translators to maintain its excellent service while looking forward to an exciting future in the nexus of translation and technology.

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