In our series of articles about how to use machine translation correctly, we have reached the point when we want to introduce how automatic translation quality check can improve the translation quality.
Automatic translation quality check which is integrated in the Translator Gadget estimates how good and usable the machine translated text is. This kind of feature is totally new innovation which diminishes the potential uncertainty involved in automatic translations and their quality. Although the technology behind machine translation is being constantly developed and improved, still machine translators won’t always be able to produce totally flawless text. Automatic translation quality check gives a clear hint if the translation can be used or should it be proofread etc.
Let’s demonstrate the potential harm caused by translation mistakes with a couple of famous translation errors that could have been prevented with automatic translation quality check.
First, in China there is a restaurant called “Translate server error”! Apparently the restaurant owner tried to translate the Chinese word for restaurant into English but the machine translation failed with an error. Automatic translation quality check would have detected the error. On the other hand, the restaurant is now obviously much more famous than it would have been without the error! This case sounds so incredible that it is better to check the following picture of the “Translate server error” restaurant:
Another more famous and actually potentially very harmful translation error was made by Ms. Hillary Clinton’s staff. Briefly, it was a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, Ms. Clinton gave Mr. Lavrov a present representing a “resetting” of the relationship between those countries. And the translation error: Instead of saying “reset” the message on the present said “overcharge” in Russian. The difference between these words is only a matter of couple letters in Russian. In always tensional political environment small mistakes like this can become the straw that broke the camel’s back. And to make the situation even worse, the whole episode was filmed and of course it is now on YouTube. A longer discussion of this situation can be found here. The story doesn’t tell if this error was made by a computer or by a human being. Nevertheless, automatic translation quality check would have prevented the error.
Here’s the YouTube-video from the unfortunate situation:
These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg. A good sense of humor takes a long way but it isn’t always enough. In those cases automatic translation quality check can help.