If you have ever found yourself in need of translating a word or a sentence and you’re not fluent in the language, you may have scoured the Internet for a translation tool.
For smaller tasks, such as learning the meaning of one word, online translation tools likeFree Translation, Google Translate or Babylon can be extremely beneficial and provide you with the translation and definition of a word. But once you start to move past one-word definitions, you’ll soon learn that online translation tools are not as beneficial as you thought.
You cannot receive an exact translation.
No matter how great of a tool you’re using, you will never be able to make an exact translation using the tool. Whether you’re trying to translate an English sentence to Spanish or trying to turn a French paragraph to English, you will have some grammatical and sentence structure issues.
Languages are very complex and translation tools simply don’t have the knowledge to make the right adjustments. Most translation tools work with a specific rule of grammar and structure, and they will alter translations so that they fit this way no matter what language they’re using. Plus, since every language is different, it’s too hard for the tool to try and change the sentence structure to fit the other language. For example, Spanish and French both give genders to their inanimate objects, and English does not. This can cause some major translation issues between the two. Also, the English language has plenty of words that are spelled the same but mean different things, and this can be hard for a translation tool to assess.
Your translations will not make sense.
Since these tools cannot give you an exact and accurate translation, you run the risk of submitting the wrong translation. For example, if you are using a translation tool to help you do your Spanish homework, and you type a paragraph in English into the tool and ask it to translate, what appears may not say exactly what you want it to say. If you submit this translation to your teacher, they will not understand what you’re trying to say, and you could receive a bad grade.
If you’re using these tools to communicate with a business partner, you could end up saying something completely inappropriate without even knowing it, or you could end up making a disastrous business decision. For example, you could end up ordering too many or not enough of an item or scheduling conferences or meetings at the wrong time.
You could be penalized for cheating.
If you’re using a translation tool for school, the lack of exactness could be a red flag to your teacher that you used a tool instead of performing the translation on your own. Depending on the school’s rules, this could be considered a form of cheating, and you could run the risk of receiving a failing grade on your assignment as well as being suspended.
Online translation tools are a good way to help you translate one word or get the gist of what is being said in a paragraph, but they should never replace your own knowledge and your own ability to translate. Though our technologies are continuing to get better and better, online translation tools simply don’t have the knowledge and the power to provide exact translations between languages, and using them this way could have damaging effects.
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