BBC: Can computer translators ever beat speaking a foreign tongue?

22 February, 2020

Extracts below. Full text here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50850239

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Put crottin de chèvre into Google Translate, and you'll be told it means goat dung.

So if it appeared on a menu, you might pass. Alas, you would be ruling out a delicious cheese made of goat's milk that is often served as a starter in France.

Such misunderstandings are why Google admits that its free tool, used by about 500 million people, is not intended to replace human translators.

Tourists might accept a few misunderstandings because the technology is cheap and convenient. But when the stakes are higher, perhaps in business, law or medicine, these services often fall short.

"Using Google Translate can lead to some serious errors, especially when words have multiple meanings, which is often the case in fields such as law or engineering," says Samantha Langley, a former lawyer who is now a court-approved French-to-English legal translator based in Meribel, France...

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Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator, HIFA Project on Multilingualism (sponsorship opportunity)

http://www.hifa.org/projects/multilingualism

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org