Do you need an experienced translator or can you use Google Translate on your website / brochure / signs?
On 7 June 2017 we put it to the test, resulting in some hilarious fails like the ones below!
Spanish translation fail
"A woman riding her motorbike in leathers stopped to give a light to a boy in overalls carrying a jack and a milling cutter".
If you enter the Spanish and then translate it the other way, this gives:
"A woman riding a motorcycle in leathers stopped to give birth to a boy in the monkey wearing a cat and a strawberry".
Thanks to Martmeister on the Duolingo chat - Having fun with Google Translate - for discovering this!
We translated "The trainers wore trainers and left on trains" into French
When we converted this back from French to English again, it gave the following:
As well as the differences between "left on" and "left them on", the other major challenge is contextualising the different words in the sentence.
German dogs and cats
When translating "my dog has a hangover" to German it becomes "My dog has a cat"!
Sometimes when you translate something with Google, it becomes meaningless, or what I like to call 'Googledygook'. Here's an example:
"The court awarded costs to the defendant."
The German translation for this is:
"Das Gericht hat dem Angeklagten Kosten gekostet." When you translate it back into English it becomes:
Funny Dutch Translation
Double Dutch means to talk gibberish and there are certainly some funny examples of this when you use Google translate!
For example "Beat around the bush" means to talk indirectly on a subject. In Dutch this becomes "versla de bush". When you translate this back, it becomes:
Russian to Elvish Translation?
It's now been fixed, but in 2016 Google had a bug that translated "Russian Federation" to "Mordor", the home of Sauron, the evil wizard in JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books.
You may ask how this came to be? The BBC article covers this story in detail.
Oops! Here's a Chinese to English fail, we're not sure where they got their translation from, but it's a very novel garden!