ULG's Language Services Blog

Three Reasons Why Google Translate Might Not Be the Right Solution for You


After recent updates, Google Translate now includes more than 100 languages, including Hawaiian and Kurdish. According to Google, this means the online translation tool, which is about to celebrate its ten year anniversary, now covers 99 percent of the online population.

Google Translate can be helpful in a pinch such as when you need to read a road sign in a foreign language or you’re looking for tips on how to pronounce a word in another language. But, if you’re like a lot of our customers, you’re dealing with complicated, nuanced materials. Whether it’s legal contracts, compliance training materials, vital health documents, global branding videos or cross-border eDiscovery, Google Translate is probably not the right tool for the job.

1) Bugs can be introduced by automated machine learning. A couple months ago, Google translated Russia to 'Mordor' in 'automated' error (much to the delight of Lord of the Rings fans). Google Translate is now using a combination of machine learning and human volunteers to make sure translations are accurate and not ridiculous.

2) Back translations are no guarantee you’re getting it right. It can be tempting to translate something in Google Translate and then translate it back into English to see if it translated your content accurately, but this doesn’t always work. This is a bit extreme, but it’s a funny example of what can happen when you use Google Translate to back translate content.


3) Google Translate can jeopardize client confidentiality during eDiscovery. Machine translation can and does play a significant role in reducing costs and speeding the eDiscovery process, but Google Translate and other free platforms free on-line translation services may not be appropriate for privileged or confidential information translation during discovery.

While Google Translate might not be the right tool for the job, or may not be sufficient on its own, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use technology to support your translation project. We do all the time. ULG’s OctaveTM technology suite gives you a complete Language Mastery Platform, delivering the right mix of human and machine translation while also working seamlessly within your internal systems to meet your needs for quality, turnaround, pricing, project management and security.

Have questions? We’d love to talk it over. Contact us today.



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