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vrijdag 11 oktober 2013

Google translate, no thanks!

Today I came across a nasty side effect of Goolge-translate. Computer-translations have never been good and Google's transations are... how do I put this politely... oh fsck it, they're crap!

In woodworking it's quite handy if you can clamp a piece of wood down, for example to the bed of a tablesaw. To do this you use what's known in the trade as a "toggleclamp", so named because it has only two states; open and closed. Google, oblivious to the context of the word, translates this in dutch to "gaffelklem". A "gaffel" is a piece of wood at the top of  a sail on old sailingships, used to keep the sail extended when there is no wind. They have no clamps. So why does google use this, completely irrelevant word? Because a toggle is also a type of connection in sailboat rigging and that is also "gaffel" in dutch.

So what's the problem?

Alibaba.com uses google translate to get dutch productdescriptions. They advertise "gaffelklemmen" by the boatload, and not a single dutchman will ever find them because they are looking for the correct dutch word "spanklem" (roughly translated: tensionklamp).

So, if your manager suggests that you translate the product descriptions using google because "a bad translation is better than no translation", tell him from me to go and polish is "gaffelklem".