Used properly, Google Translate can help us bridge a huge language gap. Transcribing foreign languages through the app is as easy as copying and pasting text. As of January 2022, it offers support for 109 languages via text, photos, and voice. If you want to translate a piece of text to see what it says in your language, Google Translate will translate well enough to let you piece together the text’s overall meaning. But why can’t you just use Google Translate for everything from official documents to foreign business meetings?
The Magic of Google Translate
The use of Google Translate is fairly intuitive, so it’s accessible to most users, whether business or casual. When you use your phone’s camera to translate street signs, menus, or other foreign text you come across, the Google Translate app feels magical as it displays instant translations right on your phone’s screen (if you’ve downloaded a language pack). Google Chrome’s ability to easily translate foreign languages into English (or your preferred language) is one of its best features. Google Assistant’s Translate mode can provide real-time translation, allowing you to have conversations with people in different languages.
But as great as Google Translate is, it still cannot compare to human translators, especially for an important task like translating a lengthy conversation between two people. For in-person or virtual live meetings, language interpretation can be complex, sometimes requiring cultural knowledge to parse the full meaning of the conversation. A free service can translate what you type literally, but language has many nuances beyond the literal.
The results can be reliable when you try to translate just a set of words or a few sentences, or when you use common languages. Popular Google translations tend to be more accurate for common translations like Spanish to English. Conversely, translations for other languages that are not as available in the Google database are less accurate. Ultimately, the possibility of obtaining a proper translation is based on the comprehensiveness of Google’s own database of translated texts.
This level of translation requires more than a large database of words – you need a person with knowledge of the local language and culture involved in the translation. Having a human interpreter who understands the language and culture they come from can create reliable equivalents in the respective language so that the meaning is not lost. Facial expression, tone of voice and body language can all be part of an accurate translation.
Google Translate Vs. a Certified & Insured Interpreter or Translator
Individuals and some businesses may be able to get away with using Google Translate in certain situations. But as conversations become more complex, more is on the line when translating or interpreting for your business or organization. For court proceedings, whether civil or criminal, there’s an even greater need for official certifications; a Google Translate entry could easily fail to represent nuanced testimony or the specifics of a contract’s clauses.
Remember that Google Translate is machine learning software and cannot properly convey all the nuances and meanings in a language as human translators or interpreters can. And Google cannot accept liability of any kind for outcomes based on how their translation service is used; certified and insured translators or interpreters can cover liability for specifics lost in translation, and work hard to avoid scenarios where that’s necessary.
For example, businesses or individuals looking for certified interpreter services in Vancouver (a multicultural center with outstanding diversity) rely on the guarantee coming from having a proficient interpreter. Google Translate cannot be relied upon, and it just won’t be useful to anyone with a language barrier aside from basic conversation; if organizations such as the UN doesn’t use it when speaking between each other during conferences, why would anyone else?
While Google Translate and other machine translation services have come a long way and will continue to evolve in translation capabilities, they still have a long way to go to achieve the professional standard that only certified interpreters or translators exemplify.
At Languages in Motion Ltd., our goal is to bring the world together through professional translation and interpreting services. With access to over 200 languages, including American Sign Language, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Arabic, we can help individuals, families, and businesses communicate more clearly than ever before. Our certified translators and interpreters have worked in numerous industries, including the Public Sector (Police, Healthcare, Court, Education, and Government & Municipalities), Healthcare, Finance, Local and International Law Firms, Marketing, Insurance Companies and Private/Independent Medical Clinics, Law and Order, and Immigration. Our experience, passion for delivering results, commitment to clients, and enthusiasm for building relationships are why we are recognized as the best in the translation industry. Contact our team of certified translators and interpreters from Toronto to Winnipeg to Calgary and Vancouver today at 1-888-556-5541.