With easy access to free translation tools, you may think why not use it for business. There are many reasons why Google Translate should not be used for business translations. The most important ones have to do with business integrity, brand value, and customer data protection. Customized machine translation done by a translation agency is a better option if you are looking for greater speed and convenience.
What’s behind the Google Translate tool?
As of 2023, Google Translate supports 133 languages at various levels and has over 500 million total users.
Google Translate is a statistical machine translation service that selects the best possible text translation based on the translated documents on the Internet. The accuracy of the translated text is unreliable and depends heavily on the type and the languages you combine. Since Google’s web translation database is built largely from existing online translations, translations of common languages such as Spanish and English tend to be more accurate, while translations of other languages not included in Google’s database are more accurate. Other languages not included in the Google database tend to be less accurate.
Three main sources were used to train the SMT system used by Google. These include crime fiction, the Bible, UN and EU documents, which is one reason why European language combinations provide higher quality translations.
However, this translation tool is not a substitute for professional translation services and should be used for fun and curiosity, not for commercial purposes.
Automated translation technology is still not good enough in 2023
- Google Translate still isn’t good enough for medical instructions. In one example, Google Translate turned “You can take over the counter ibuprofen as needed for pain” into Armenian as “You may take anti-tank missile as much as you need for pain.”
- Menus are often the victim of a Google Translate fail. In one example, machine translation somehow determined that cow dung would be an appropriate ingredient for a dish made with shark and beef.
- Google translate also has “bugs”. In 2016 it translated the English word “Russia” as “Mordor,” a fictional place in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” series. Mordor is the realm and base of the evil Sauron, and it’s not obvious where this “bug” came from.
In 2016, Google announced that it was revising its translation system and using emerging neuromachine translation (NMT) to improve accuracy. According to the company, the new technology has greatly improved the accuracy of translations.
However, the improvements were not as good as they seemed. When it was announced, many headlines carried the phrase that Google’s new system was “approaching human accuracy,” which is far from the truth.
The company should make it clear that MT can only be used to convey the “essence” of a document. A reliable translation consists of many different elements, including humans and machines working together to ensure accuracy.
How does Google Translate use your data?
Google Translate is a quick way to transcribe documents, but for HR departments and anyone dealing with legally relevant material, it should not be used. In fact, using this service can violate confidentiality agreements, resulting in hefty fines and loss of customer trust. In the business world, confidentiality is paramount, and violating it puts both your company and your customers at risk.
Further, using a free online MT transfer system with an unsecured internet connection is a security risk that could put your data at risk.
Google makes it clear it that they can do whatever they want with your information. This begs the question: when you use Google Translate, does your private information remain private? Judging from the company’s terms and conditions, it doesn’t.
Never Use Google Translate for Sensitive Content
Google Translate should never be used to translate sensitive content that contains personal or other sensitive information. When you enter text into this tool, that text becomes the property of Google and can be used at Google’s discretion. As such, you may violate the law or our contractual relationships with partners, customers and suppliers.
That being said, how can a conscientious attorney or other person handling legal documents use Google Translate? How does a qualified human resources professional enter confidential employee information into the system? Perhaps they don’t know that Google can retain and own whatever you put in the translation form.
Advantages to Google Translate
Google Translate is free. Experienced professional translators can sometimes be expensive, but remember, you get what you pay for.
One of the main advantages of Google Translate is also its high speed. In fact, human translators can’t match Google Translate’s speed, so the translation volume increases. An experienced translator can translate up to 2,000 – 2,500 words in an average working day (around 400 words per hour), depending on the complexity of the text. In contrast, Google Translate can translate the same number of words in a few seconds.
Google Translate uses statistical methods to create a database of online translations based on the frequency of occurrence of language pairs. Google Translate uses statistical methods to create a database of human-generated translations that are usually available online.
The main reasons why you shouldn’t use Google Translate for commercial purposes
Google Translate functions best as a traveler’s tool to find their way through another language. It is not the best choice for business translations, especially if you want to grow internationally.
If you want to use a free tool to save resources, keep in mind that Google Translate is not designed for business, and you will end up paying more because of it.
Not specialized enough
The level of machine translation provided will not be tailored to your specific business needs. The software translates word for word, which in most cases results in an inaccurate and ridiculous result. If your site is poorly translated, it can give customers who visit your site the wrong impression that the company has not made the effort to understand their language.
Translations can be managed automatically, but they can also be manually output by the user. In other words, someone may suggest an alternative translation of a word or phrase that is known to be incorrect. Such behavior can have serious consequences for your business if it goes unnoticed.
Automated translation systems are error-prone, which in turn increases the time and effort required to translate specific content from one language to another. Also, reverse translation does not guarantee that the translation is accurate or doesn’t sound weird to native speakers.
Will Google Translate have a negative impact on your ranking in multilingual search engines?
Google Translate is a seemingly useful tool for translating content that you put on your website because it’s free, easily accessible, and created by one of the Internet’s great innovators.
Search engine optimization is important to your original site, to attract attention and gain customers, but it’s just as important, if not more so, when creating multilingual sites for international markets. You need people to find out about your products, services, and information. That’s why it’s so important that translated content is the first thing search engines find.
Why isn’t Google Translate enough for your online presence?
Google’s quality guidelines penalize search engines for using automated content, which, according to Google, includes text translated by automated tools with human intervention before publication. By definition, that includes all translations emitted by Google Translate.
So, if you use only machine translation to display multilingual content on your site, you risk penalties from Google itself. Low search engine rankings can be fatal for companies seeking to increase brand credibility and presence in new and unfamiliar global markets.
Lack of clear localized architecture
Google also sets fairly strict quality standards for website architecture. This includes localized and translated pages. This means that you must give your visitors and all search engines a clear understanding of how your localized content is organized for easy search, browsing, and understanding.
The problem is that machine translation solutions, such as Google Translate, make this difficult because they do not create a central point of departure for the translated content on your site. Because machine translators simply insert translated words into existing content, they do not need to create clear site architecture or sitemaps for multilingual content. This confuses search engines and can cause your content to not be indexed, ranked, or shown in search results.
Translation quality is still an issue
As mentioned above, quality remains an issue with Google Translate. This is especially problematic given that search engines have evolved, and they have raised standards with respect to authentic, high-quality content. Simply repeating the same keywords can have a negative impact on search engine rankings. Google and other search engines rate relevant and trustworthy content based on how visitors use it.
If you have invested a lot of time and money creating quality content on your website, a commensurate effort should be made to ensure the translations are good. Simply put, machine translation continues to be inaccurate and insufficient for business needs offline and online. Grammar, brand voice, personality, and subtle nuances often prevent translated content from resonating with foreign readers. If your content doesn’t grab attention, your audience won’t click on it and won’t stay. This inevitably lowers search engine rankings and overall search engine performance, preventing new audiences from finding you around the world.
Better than automatic translation
Fortunately, machine translation is not the only best translation option for staying optimized for search engines in the global marketplace.
Look for a partner that combines the efficiency of machine translation with the quality standards and customization offered by linguists. Also look for a solution that
- Improve the efficiency of your translation process from start to finish.
- Relieve your team of workflow and maintenance burdens.
- It also ensures that your translated content is optimized for local and global search engines and attracts the attention of your ideal audience.
Your investment in your website and search engines is very important, and you need to ensure that your translation solution is appropriate for them.
What are the alternatives to Google Translator?
Machine translation cannot replace human translation, but in the hands of a professional translator, it can be an effective tool.
Translation companies provide MT software that is tailored to your data and provides reliable results. This MT result is then edited by a qualified technical translator to provide an accurate, high-quality translation that meets the needs of the end user.
When used correctly, machine translation can save you time and money. If you’re working on a less important translation project, translating customer reviews, or using it internally to keep your employees up-to-date on the latest research. ABC Translations can help you with translations that are more crucial for your business.