08 October 2011

Google Translation

The limitations of automatic translation are illustrated in an interesting recent Language Log posting (here). It appears that a protester in New York wanted to show the message
No more corruption
in Chinese, and so he typed it into the Google Translate facility and got this:
没有更多的腐败
(You can try it yourself to confirm it.)

The problem here is that the Chinese actually says: "There is no more corruption", which is almost certainly the opposite of the message the person was hoping to put on his banner.

In fact, you get just as bad a result if you use Google Translate to translate 'No more corruption' into Malay:
tiada rasuah lebih
We really must be careful how much we depend on automatic translation software at present.

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