When you need a quick translation done, you might open on impulse an online translator like Google Translate. While automatic translators can be useful on a per word or phrase basis, you must be careful when it comes to translating full texts or important business documents. There will always be errors when it comes to syntax, expressions, and terminology that is impossible for a machine to be aware of. A native speaker will instantly detect when you haven’t given your text a proper translation. Have you also considered whether the online translation service you’re using is secure? In the terms and conditions, you may be surprised to find that your content isn’t actually confidential.

Here are some more details regarding the risks of using online translation services.

Grammatical Errors

It’s true that automatic translation services have dramatically improved in the last decade. They are now fairly adept at correcting simple concepts like verb tenses, plurals and possessives, and subject-verb agreements; but they will often fail at accurately converting other grammatical concepts, such as homonyms and abbreviations, and translate using a comprehensible sentence structure. Small errors like this which can easily be avoided with a professional translator could render your content unclear and amateurish.

Local Dialects

Language isn’t always straightforward translation. In other words, different regions use varying words according to their spoken dialect. This is something an automatic translation service can’t possibly factor in. Depending on your content—perhaps it’s more conversational, like a blog—taking into account the dialect of the region you’re targeting is important, especially if you’re trying to reach a specific market. For instance, you may be targeting consumers located in the more rural areas of a given country.

Cultural-Specific Content

The same rule applies when you are taking a region’s culture into account. Online translators can translate words literally, but they tend to miss cultural subtleties, which could result in massive errors that will completely alter your message. One Canadian company targeting children meant to translate “loved ones” to German, and inadvertently translated the term to “lovers”. This made a huge dent in the German market.

Safety and Confidentiality

Google translate is a popular online translation service with millions of users. It’s a great starting point if you just want to understand key terms in the content you’re sifting through—but it becomes risky translating important business documents with sensitive information. Few users are aware of this, but Google’s terms of service actually are incongruent with the language normally included in non-disclosure agreements. Google’s Terms of Service state:

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

Language Marketplace prioritizes their clients’ privacy and ensures all content is translated accurately and respects the region’s cultural identity. For a professional and precise translation or interpretation for your law firm, agency, or international corporation, contact us now and receive a free quote.