50 shades of Mary

Machine translation is inevitably popular these days as, as previously discussed in this post. And who can blame its users? Google Chrome’s suggestion to “translate this page” from Russian to English with just a click and a seconds wait is alluring. It’s really great to use when you really have absolutely no idea what a page or a text is about and need a general gist of things. According to Google, 200 million people use the service on a daily basis which can translate from and into 90 different languages. Tempting indeed.

No one can deny that it is a speedy and useful solution for urgent language translations (I have a programmer friend who jokingly insists that machines will eventually replace us, translators) and it is true that the program can be really helpful in some scenarios (large volumes provided by clients who demand a fast turnaround time or highly specialized content) provided that it is complemented with other services such as human post-editing. Users should however be aware of its limitations.

Why can machine translation not be used as a sole translation tool? Let’s have a look what happened when we typed in a few different sentences:

Mary is nice
French: Marie est belle. (it even translates her name!)

But what happens when we spice it up with a preposition?

Mary is inside the red house
Spanish: María es el interior de la casa roja (No, Mary is not the interior of the house!)

And it gets even better if you want to translate a sentence that contains an idiomatic expression such as:

Mary has been feeling under the weather recently.
Spanish: María ha estado sintiendo bajo tiempo recientemente.
(The translation doesn’t make much sense and if the reader was feeling generous and tried to make some sense out of it, he or she would assume that Mary had been feeling, as in experiencing, some really “low” weather.)
French: Mary a été sentait sous le temps récemment.
(This translation does not only make no sense, the verb tenses do not match either.)

So conclusively, machine translations can be useful in some particular cases or when we just need a general glimpse of what the text is about. Users must be aware of the errors it can come up with and therefore, the tool must be used by qualified linguists. 
For accurate and human translations Trusted Translations is here to help you out.