Consequences of a Mandarin-English translation with automated tools
When talking about translation, many people are still skeptical about considering the intervention of a professional essential. They often prefer the support of browsers or devices claiming to solve our language problems.
If in some cases a simple automatic translator can take care of temporary needs linked to our survival, it is true that most of the times we use them, they end up being just an obstacle, creating irreparable communication problems.
Just take a common support that doesn’t need much creativity in interpretation: a menu. If you have ever travelled to China, you know how frequently any tipe of menu can host creative translations, likely not due to the owners’ imagination, who often cannot speak English.
A lot of Chinese plates have elaborate poetical names even in the source language, with references to legends, historical characters and metaphors. But when I found plates with creepy names such as “Sixi roasted husband” or “Steam eggs with wikipedia”, I am sure I was dealing with simple translation problems.
Of course when we are talking about languages that are so different as Mandarin and English, often the speakers of either language do not even consider the meaning of those letters following one another (for example, have we ever asked ourselves the meaning of the Chinese characters written on our favorite T-shirt?)
If we put ourselves in the shoes of a people so “far” from us, we will immediately understand how such mistakes can be made without realizing it.
Only a professional can solve the situation! Truth is that artificial intelligence is not (yet) able to interpret the thousand hues that the tone of the voice, silence or an idiom can communicate.
Have you ever encountered funny translations along your path?
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