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Language Translation Apps

Pros and Cons to Language Translation Apps – Why Machine Translation is Inadequate

Have you used Google Translate and other machine translation options including language translation apps to understand some basic communications?  Have you noticed how the nuances and cultural references are lost and often how it makes no sense whatsoever?

The good news is that if you need to translate something very basic or just get the idea of the conversation, language translation apps can come in handy.  Maybe you want to quickly identify a language from a blog, translate a Facebook comment from your foreign exchange student, or text something witty in Italian to your sister who is traveling in Italy.  Language translation apps can do the trick for quick and casual communications.

Examples of When Not to use Language Translation Apps

language translation appsThe bad news is that if you need something accurately translated, language translation apps should NOT be used.

Here is an example of a tourism website that used a language translation app:

The In love ones with the vapor is a header on this Tourism Website along with this text:  The train remains here at his place, and imposes some to the motorists. Those are never miserly besides of various greetings, with the great joy of the passengers.

One of the more famous language translation app mishaps, would be the Chinese cafe who translated their banner sign to Translate Server Error.  This takes the cake for poorly translated signs!

Language Translation Apps – What They Can and Can Not Do

We have talked about Google Translate for translating text.  How about language translation apps that can interpret what people say?  NyxCore is one example of a company who has created a language translation app for the Android.  NyxCore is run by freelance programmers, and they have several language translation apps available.  The Conversation Translator has the following features as taken from their website:

An interpreter for dialogues with local people.

– Easy communicate with foreigners.
– Ask questions in other languages.
– For travel , vacations or business trips.
– 70 languages
– Translate words or phrases
– Translate your voice
– Hear the translation (Text to speech)
– Fast and easy
– Voice recognition (Speech to text)
– Nice graphics

You can see how a language translation app could come in handy when traveling for basic conversation.  However, besides on Star Trek, we are not there yet technologically speaking to use language translation apps for professional translation and interpreting use.  The machine can’t yet deconstruct the text, analyze the grammatical structure, determine the meaning with cultural references, nuances, concepts and abstractions.

You can think of language translation apps as the Match.com of language translation and interpreting.  It may match you up with some basic bits of information, but you don’t get the big picture until you meet “your match” in person….human to human.