Author Archives: Pangeanic

Translation Has Become A Vital Part Of Manufacturing

The importance of translation has been growing in the manufacturing industry. This has occurred due to the reasons that we’re going to discuss below. Technical translations, in particular, present a challenge. It’s crucial that instructions to different parts of the business or outside companies are followed to a tee.



Lately, all businesses have become more reliant on the potential of outsourcing. The manufacturing industry is no exception. In fact, it’s usually the industry that’s leading the charge. Outsourcing is the process of using out of house resources to complete a job within a company. This is usually done to save money, time, and resources. Theoretically, an outsourcing company could be just down the road from the business. But usually, these transactions occur on an international level. The reason for this is that outsourcing businesses often stay profitable due to cheaper labor laws or tax incentives. These usually occur in other regions from the buying company. For instance, China is famous for its lenient labor laws. Many major businesses like Apple use outsourcing companies there.

If you are outsourcing to international companies, the language must be clear. You can not afford to lose anything in translation. Technical translations ensure the product or process is completed to the best possible quality.


International Trade

But it’s not just outsourcing that has shifted the focus on translation in manufacturing. Many manufacturers aren’t catering to local demand. They are reaching out to an international population.These days it’s cheaper to trade internationally. Businesses can run on a global level while keeping costs low. But again, translation services must be used. Otherwise, it won’t be possible to make business deals and form contracts with foreign buyers.

With the right translation service, business deals can be set up easily, usually online. A face to face meeting won’t always be necessary if all the information the buyer needs is readily available.


Getting Leads

To get these international business deals, companies have to be able to use leads. When a business is looking for leads in a country with a different native language, translation again plays an important part. The manufacturing website needs to be set, so businesses know what they’re buying. Again, technical translations are important because they can be tricky. If one small detail is missed, it can change the concept of what’s being offered and sold completely. Business leads are only going to be interested in buying if they know exactly what they are looking at.


International Workforce

Lastly, there’s the workforce. In the USA alone a massive section of the population does not speak English as a native language. However, these employees may still be the best workers for the job with the most skill. A manufacturing company will be able to hire them if they have the business materials they need. But the correct translations of these materials also need to be readily available.

This is why manufacturers have become one of the biggest users of translation services.



Essential Steps for Accurate Italian Translation

Businesses everywhere need to translate documents and materials into other languages. Several European languages are some of the most popular, and Italian is no exception. If you need to translate any article into Italian, you shouldn’t just dive straight in. There are some important considerations to take into account to make sure you get the job done. There’s more to an accurate Italian translation than using a machine translator or having someone go over the text. There are a number of steps you should take to ensure the accuracy of your translation to or from Italian. Follow these rules to get it right.

Understand the Local Culture

Before you start producing texts in another language, you should know the country. You’re not just translating into a different language but a different culture too. So you might produce a different source document for Italy than the one you use for the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. Swiss Italian is strongly influenced by German and French, from which it copies several expressions (from “driving license” to “bus”, for example). It is one of the three official languages of Switzerland (350,000 speakers approximately).

Any business going into a new international market needs to understand the potential pitfalls. For example, could your brand name mean something rude in Italian? Might it be offensive to use a particular tone of voice that’s funny in English? These things are essential to understand. Remember Italian is spoken not only in Italy (65 million speakers) – there are recognized minorities in Slovenian and Croatia, too. Across the Atlantic, There are some other 20 million Italian speakers in large immigrant communities around the world, particularly in the US, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Accurate Italian translation services

Use a Professional Translation Service with tested and native Italian translators and Italian proofreaders

To get accurate translations for your materials, you should select the best translation service. Choosing the right Italian translation services means having to look at what they can deliver. The first thing you want to see is that they use native speakers to translate their documents. A translator should translate back into their native language. A professional translator has many benefits. They include having an eye for detail that a machine can’t possess. They can pick up on the smallest mistakes and produce accurate work that will impress any Italian.

Ensure Materials Are Edited

After the initial translation, your materials should go through further checks. This is known as proofreading by translation professionals. Starting with a professional translator is a good beginning. But you have to ensure their accuracy. A decent translation service will have a piece of text go through at least two stages. There should be another native Italian speaker to check your document. They can spot any mistakes or suggest more accurate translations. When you select services, make sure that they perform rigorous checks.

Go Beyond Individual Translations

What else should you look for in translation services? Another step they should be taking is to go beyond translating individual materials. When you select your service, you should see how they keep their translations high-quality across the board. One of the ways they might do this is to have a style guide. They might have their own or create one for your business to maintain your voice. They can also have glossaries to ensure proper use of technical or colloquial language. You can also take a further step by having an in-house native speaker to check any work. These vital things must be done to ensure your Italian translation is as accurate as possible. Choosing the best translation service is the most important factor.

The Top Benefits of Using a Professional Japanese Translation Service

Many people wonder why they need to use a professional translation service. After all, an online translation tool could do just as well, couldn’t it? Unfortunately, that line of thought couldn’t be more wrong. Tools such as Google Translate can help to give you a general understanding of a text. However, the quality isn’t good enough for your business. When translating from English to Japanese, it’s essential to have a professional Japanese translator. You may think that bypassing the process will save you money, but it will, in fact, cost you. The Japanese language is very remote to English language word order. Japanese also has a very different way to express themselves. A direct “Japanese English translation service” will make no sense to English speakers as the word order is all upside down If you’re not sure why you should use a professional Japanese translation service, have a look at one of our presentations on English Japanese machine translation challenges and the important reasons below.

Remove Barriers to the Japanese Market

If you want to break into a new market in Japan, there is no doubt that you need to produce materials in Japanese. However, why should you use “traditional translators”, when there are cheap online translation tools available? The primary reason to seek out a professional translator is accuracy. A person who has acquired a deep fluency in non-related languages such as Japanese and English has spent years learning not only the language but also expressions and cultural references. The right skills and qualifications cannot be beaten by a machine when it comes to translating from English to Japanese or for Japanese to English translation. Many translators also spend long periods of time in the country in question. Using a cheap translation service usually means you end up with material that makes no sense. Even worse than that, it could also be offensive and you will end up having to translate it again. By that time, you have already made it known to your audiences that you are prepared to cut corners in quality translation services. What does that say about your business?

Reduce Your Business Costs

You might think that avoiding the use of a professional translation service will save you money. However, it’s much more likely to do the opposite. If you use a poor service to begin with, you might end up having to pay again to fix it. Using a professional service ensures that you get it right the first time. It can be especially difficult to translate from or to Japanese. It’s not something you want to leave in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Speed Up Your Marketing Process

If you don’t choose the right service, your launch on the Japanese market could suffer delays. A less than professional service could take a long time to get your documents and materials back to you. When they do, they might not be as accurate as you had hoped. The worst part is that you might not realise that until it’s too late. By selecting the right Japanese translation service at the beginning, you can ensure you don’t have to waste time.

Ensure You Have a Respectable Business Image

If you use a service that doesn’t deliver top results, how will you know if your materials are accurate? You don’t read Japanese, so you have no idea of the validity of your documents. That’s why it’s essential to be careful about which service you choose to use. Sending out anything that’s inaccurate or even unintelligible could damage your reputation in Japan. Once your business image has taken a hit, it can be tough to come back from it.

Using a professional translation service is essential when you’re entering a new market. Don’t skip it if you want to save time, money, and your reputation.

5 Tips To Make Your Technical Translation Project Smooth & Seamless

More than ever, companies are expanding to new countries and territories. That often requires a completely new approach to the native language. It means translating complicated documents such as manuals or business plans. Translating your essential documents will open up a new world of opportunity. However, you must get this simple translation stage right. Each language has its unique subtleties, and a poor translation could misinterpret your entire business. We specialise in technical translation and we’ve picked up some tips over the years. Here’s how to make sure your project runs smoothly.

1. Find a specialist agency

Different technical translators have different skills. When it comes to complex or dense material, you need a translator with specialist experience. If you’re translating legal document, for example, you need a legal expert. The wording could quickly lose its meaning under an inexperienced translator. Speak carefully to your translation agency, and ensure they have experience in your field.


2. Define the target audience

You’ll get a much smoother translation when you discuss the target audience in advance. The linguistic nuances change dramatically according to the target audience. For example, some countries use a formal and informal system. If you’re translating a legal or financial document, you certainly don’t want the informal wording. The target audience also helps define the tone of the translation. Remember, this isn’t about simple word-for-word translation. A good project will also translate the entire tone and communication of the document.


3. Outline the overall purpose and direction

As we said, this isn’t about word-for-word translation. A good agency will look to understand the entire scope and purpose of the document. They’ll take a big-picture approach, and use the translation to encompass the whole document. You can help the process along by defining this from the outset. Give them a clear understanding of the end goal, and how this translation fits into your overall business model.


4. Communicate throughout the project

A good project always requires communication from day one. A translation is a crucial piece of work, and there should be lots of questions. A regular dialogue is essential between the two agencies. It’s a good idea to appoint one point-person to communicate with the translation agency. It’s easier to direct all communication through one person. There should also be regular contact to keep track of progress, and make sure questions are answered. A good translation agency will ask a lot of questions, so make sure you have all the answers!


5. Proofreading and quality control

Most technical translation agencies will have an in-house proofreading system. However, it’s always worth sending the translated document to an independent proofreader. That way you get a second opinion, and ensure the document is faultless. By doing this, you can ensure the translation conveys the same in both languages. You can check the tone, and make any changes as necessary.
Follow this advice and your technical translation project should run smoothly. If you’d like to know more about technical translation, get in touch with one of our experts.

How Medical Translation Services Are Changing the Healthcare Industry

The translation of medical documents can be needed in healthcare for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons for translating medical documents is having a foreign patient or client. It’s so important that medical documents are translated as accurately as possible, so that everybody involved is on the same page. If mistakes are made, you could put your patients in grave danger and yourself in a lot of trouble. You just can’t afford to make any guesses or mistakes when it comes to somebody’s health. Although you may have employees that speak second languages, asking them to translate medical documents will take up a lot of their time. This means they’ll either have to put it off or their day to day work will suffer. With medical translation services, you can get things done fast and accurately. Here’s more about how medical translation services are changing the healthcare industry:

Automate Certain Processes in Your Establishment

Automating processes in the workplace can make everything so much quicker. If only you could automate everything to make life easier! While you can’t automate everything, you can automate lengthy processes like translating medical documents. As the service is so quick and affordable, you won’t need to worry when you get a foreign client or patient through the door. Everybody will have ample time to do the things they trained to do!

Less Stress for Everybody Involved

Going to the doctors, hospital, or even the vets can be a stressful experience for people. When your health or the health of a loved one is on the line, you can feel all kinds of conflicting emotions as it is. That’s without misunderstanding what is actually going on! Put yourself in a patient’s shoes for a moment. Imagine going to the hospital and receiving a document in a language you can barely understand. You wouldn’t know what to think or do. By using medical translation services, you’ll put patients and clients at total ease. Communication will be improved and the experience will be a more positive one. You won’t need to worry about documents being translated in the right context. Medical translation professionals are experienced in healthcare.

Protect Patients and Safeguard Yourself from Lawsuits

When it comes to medical documents, the slightest mistake can mean big trouble. It could mean a dangerous situation with your patient for a start, let alone a dangerous situation for you. Using a medical translator means you’re not only protecting your patients, you’re safeguarding yourself. You’re also taking care of your reputation, which is one of the most important things in the healthcare industry. The smallest mistake could force you to close your establishment, let staff go, or offer large amounts of money as compensation.

Many establishments are now turning to medical translation services to minimise the risk of mistakes. Also helping to keep patients safe and avoid getting into trouble. Jobs are made that bit easier and experiences in the medical workplace are better for both employees and patients.

The benefits of translating a website into a different language

There are more than one billion live websites online. They are mostly monolingual, although translations are becoming increasingly important. There’s no denying the Web has become the ‘de facto’ tool to search for information (much to the relieve of trees) and, as all statistics point, for commerce, too. And there is no better way to make a website more enticing to a broader audience than making it multilingual.

Companies such as Microsoft and Adobe have versions of their sites in several languages. It helps them to gain the competitive edge. Especially when targeting new foreign markets. By the way, did you know which is the website with the most translations in the world? Surprisingly none of the above, nor Wikipedia.

But it is something you all wish to do. The economics of offering your website in different languages are unquestionable. But let’s try to be precise. The following six reasons explain the benefits of using a website translation service provider:

1. English isn’t the dominant language in the world

You might think that English is the most common language in the world. But, you may not know that English is only the third most common spoken language. The dominating language is Mandarin Chinese, followed by Spanish.

2. You will increase your company’s revenue

Large, medium and small companies and brands realise the benefits of selling to an international audience. In a digital age, there’s no ‘local economy’. If you only target an English-speaking audience (or a monolingual audience), you’re missing out on a lucrative opportunities.

There are plenty of people that want to use your products and services abroad. You just are not talking to them. Take mobile games as an example. Typical games directed to an online audience under 16 or 18 many times but who has a cellphone. Kids play online with other kids from China to Spain, from Tokyo to Buenos Aires. And they buy credits. Online, in their language.

3. A website translation service is better than Google Translate

To cut costs, some firms rely on nothing more than machine-based translation services. One typical example is Google Translate. You just need to read a few more articles in our blog to realize how terrible this decision can be.

The issue with using unchecked machine-based translators is that you always end up with the wrong translation. The last thing you want to do is to become a laughing stock, an Internet joke.

As a developer of machine translation technologies, I can only say to you: use it for fast translations where speed is more important than quality, like reviews or just to get the gist. Machine translation is not a publishing service.

4. You will increase consumer confidence in your brand

Following the above line of thought…What happens then when you take the time to translate a website? Your potential customers will have more trust in your brand. Why? Because they will feel you understand their needs. You have now reached to them. You are not saying ‘hey, I have this cool stuff, which by the way you can’t really use nor understand, ¿sabes amigo?‘.

5. Multilingual websites overcome cultural barriers

When a website is in a person’s native tongue, they will feel more comfortable browsing through it. I travel frequently to Japan and China and, believe me, I feel very comfortable when I ser something in a Latín script.

6. You’ll gain a significant competitive edge

Surely! How many restaurants in Shanghai or Dalian won me only because I could read the menu! Have you ever been to an Italian restaurant where everything was written in Chinese? I have. I settled down for ‘spaghetti’, in whatever shape it came.

There are many universal things in life that people use, regardless of their language. If you sell something they use, you should tell them about it. Having a multilingual website (and menu for your restaurant) will give you the competitive edge.

But there’s more…….

Website translation services are useful beyond the Web

The Internet offers many different ways of communicating and trading online. During the Web’s infancy, people would do those things solely on websites.

These days, with the rise of smartphones and tablets, we also use “apps” for the same purposes. After all, they offer a convenient way to talk and buy online without opening a browser!

Professional website translation services can get utilised for multilingual apps. This also includes rich HTML content served within those apps.

Translate content that makes sense to your audience

When you use a good website translation services, one thing is for sure: the translated content you receive will make total sense to your target audience!

Pangeanic provides a raft of website translation and localization services. We can translate your content to and from dozens of popular spoken languages.

And now the commercial line…. Contact us today to request a free translation quote.

Google Translate error: we thought Russia was Mordor

Google Translate errors have become a kind of popular culture joke (see our previous entry about the “clitoris festival” in a Spanish town). Some years ago, it proved unable to translate President Obama and it kept naming him “Bush”. This was due, at the time, to the larger amount of data linking the words “President” and “Bush”. Now, Google provides another interesting translation error.

Google Translate is one of the most widely used translation tools worldwide. We have to say  that Google has had the good taste to offer its product in mobile applications, and even applications for smartwatches in addition to the web version. It is extremely convenient to use and it has become a reference tool for translation professionals and users of translation services at least to discern or understand texts in foreign languages. And let’s be fair, Google Translate’s machine translations are often of good quality considering it is a very general software, an “non-customized machine translation engine” (read more about how machine translation works here). Because of its ubiquity and availability, it is a product that is hard to beat.

But voila, Google translate is an automatic tool, and is likely to produce errors. It relies on thousands of alingned, bilingual documents. So, some mistranslations can occur… but some are a little more odd than others. So, according to BBC reports, the tool recently found no better match for the country name “Russia” than “Mordor” (or Black Land in J. R. R. Tolkien‘s “The Lord of Rings” fictional universe, the region occupied and controlled by Sauron). To continue with the story, “Russians” became “occupiers”.

According to Google translate, Mordor is real and is none other than Russia.
Well, Russians may have bad press, but for Google to say this…

So how can these machine translation errors happen?

First of all, one needs to remember that these errors are not produced by any particular language. In reality, they are the result of a translation of the Ukrainian language into the Russian language. The search giant does not rely on simple dictionaries, but on huge databases, and many entries are web pages indexed by its own search engine. Therefore, Google Translate ultimately depends on data provided and created by us, the general public.

Google translates Russia as Mordor

The tool analyzes millions of documents and matches certain words, certain habits of language. Statistically, it finds equivalents between languages because after a certain number of occurrences in a given language, it infers that a certain word happens in a certain way. This approach works better in some languages than others, but combined with other techniques, it can provide fairly decent results.

To translate Russia as Mordor can then be explained like this:

  1. It appears that these terms have been widely used by Ukrainian soldiers after the invasion by Russia of the Eastern Ukrainian regions. The have created documents or texts that Google has been able to find.
  2. Google has aligned these texts, pun included.
  3. Statistically speaking, there was enough or even more data at one point equating the word “Russia” to “Mordor”, just as it happened with “occupiers” (the coverage by the Ukrainian and Russian media and TV was very one-sided in both cases).

To avoid the wrath of the Russia, Google has of course responded in a statement, specifying that its automated tool was not always perfect and that errors could occur.

The research giant then assured that it would continue to do its best to improve Google translation and in the future to avoid such errors.
The point remains that to rely on millions of documents instead of a simple dictionary to translate terms like “Russia” is a little bit unnecessary, but that it is another story.

5 tips for a cultural adaptation of translations

Marketing departments work hard to produce high quality content, high quality translations, catalogues, websites and content in general to project a quality brand image – an image that engages target markets and boosts loyalty to the brand and, of course, sales. This is in fact related to what we know as Inbound Marketing.  However, it is no secret to any marketeer that website content, and content in general does not fit equally in some markets and some content becomes very popular in some some cultures and regions whereas other content that may seem very relevant to us does not seem to stir any feelings.
The first marketing draft is usually born out of a home market and companies use it to other target markets. The thinking is very simple: “Let’s translate into Chinese and this content can reach 1,5bn Chinese speakers. It is a simple enough methodology
Create Content - Translate - Sell

Here’s the consequences of this traditional translation methodology:

  • can be managed by anyone in the office;
  • little planning required;
  • uncomplicated workflow, some of it can even be translated by colleagues or local agents;
  • lack of communication, and engagement from your audience (damage to brand image);
  • loss your competitive advantage if compared to brands that adapt their content after a cultural audit of a website content.

(By the way, 400 million Chinese do not speak Mandarin, the national language – so the first question from a translation project manager would be “translating into Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese?”. Banknotes in China carry 8 languages.)

Therefore, if this has been the way you have produced website content (or content in general) for other markets, think twice. Maybe it was the translators, maybe it wasn’t the way the original was written. Perhaps it was that the content represented your culture and did not attempt to engage and be close to your audience.

A cultural adaptation of translations

A sound cultural audit should always take place prior to translation to avoid different translators applying different solutions. Once the text has been sent to translators, it is too late. A cultural audit will recommend replacing idioms and expressions, local metaphors, humor, imagery, etc. A cultural audit will also identify any general areas of content that should need to be adapted for ANY new market.  However, if you are dealing with content that has been translated already, you should focus in assessing how much of it has been adapted appropriately for the target market. Maybe little needs to be done. Maybe you have to delete several paragraphs and spend several hours or days in adaptation. At the end of the day, this does not mean the translation was wrong, it means that you opted for the traditional translation methodology. In fact, many translation buyers instinctively want an adaptation and expect a cultural audit of their translations…. they just do not say so!

Many experienced translators will contact your Translation Project Manager and say “this does not sound very good in my language”. That is useful feedback. But there is more work to do. In order to carry our a cultural adaption of translations you need bilingual linguists (whether they are , in-country or not is irrelevant, but they must keep up-to-date with current affairs in their language). They must have some experience in buyer behavior and be able to be in the shoes of the target user.
Ideally, these linguists need to have expertise in the industry in question (marketing and advertisement, tourism and travel, retail, film if dealing with subtitling…). They must also have developed a keen attention to detail and notice things like graphics and layout (turning a publication into an Arabic translation means going right-to-left and a whole redesign needs to take place, pictures, bullets, etc). Colors carry different meanings in different cultures: whereas red means life in China and Japan, it is the color of passion, love, energy and excitement in Western cultures.  There is a lot of psychology behind the use of color in marketing content.
Good translators will probably have adapted any local expressions already. Content writers should be aware from the start that very local expressions (cultural references to events happening only in Japan, to soccer if you are a European writer or baseball or American football if you are from the US will not mean anything in other countries).

5 tips for cultural audits

A cultural audit of website content and general content should produce a professional report, with recommendations and actions. These will help you avoid pitfalls in translation, publishing, design, use of pictures on your website and printed materials. It does not matter how much you have spent on translation if you have translated material that does not engage or that it is not relevant.

  1. Some materials are just plainly inappropriate for the target market. They should be recreated from scratch and completely re-written. A brand and style guides should be created for the translator’s reference.
  2. Some marketing materials do not contain a lot highly creative content and many experienced translators and a good translation company can offer localization services without much adaptation.
  3. You will find out the quality of your existing translations and what people are reading on your website. Have you noticed that after translation, some publications do not produce any results in certain countries? A cultural audit of your translations will be able to diagnose if that content is not aligned with your brand and professional linguists will report and recommend on how to improve it.
  4. Spend time preparing the source content for each target market. Maybe you end up with 4 or more adapted sources. That is fine. It is likely that you may not need to translate all your material, so preparation will save you money! Consider a cultural audit as an insurance policy. It is prevention work. Changing translation at a later stage is always more expensive.
  5. Focus on strengths. Write content that will address questions readers find informative. “What is our company’s competitive advantage?” “What keeps clients coming back to us (retention)?” “What would the industry be missing if our brand didn’t exist?”

Machine Translation Market to Reach $983.3 Million by 2022

by Manuel Herranz

According to new research by Research&Marketing, the global machine translation market is expected to weigh $983.3M by year 2022. Several advancements in technology have led to an increase in the sophistication of translation technology, which is capable nowadays to provide translated versions with minimal errors and consistent grammatical coherence. This has considerably widened the scope of use for machine translation. Machine Translation can translate documents rapidly, seamlessly and cost-effectively. Machine Translation for content in regional languages has spurred the MT market over the past few years. The provision of MT as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) over secure cloud services hosting at data centers is a key area which is expected to add a substantial growth opportunity to the machine translations market. The prominence of cloud computing over the last few years has resulted in a spectacular demand in growth for cloud-based translation (whether machine translation or computer assisted translation tools). The growth in cloud computing is expected to boost even more the growth of machine translation market, possibly as a result of API services plugging in to websites. R&D over the last few years and the technological applications by several providers have enabled machine translation technology to seamlessly integrate into a wide range of products, from CMS to enterprise-level systems and even handheld consumer devices. The proliferation of smartphones has also led to the introduction of machine translation apps providing instant translation of multilingual text and sometimes voice. 

Machine Translation Market Expected to Reach $983.3 Million by 2022

Further key findings from the study point to: 

  • Industries that produce “controlled language” documentation like the electronics industry or the automotive sector are expected to gain significant market share and are key to this growth.


  • Government initiatives (particularly in the US and Europe) and the presence of a large number of service providers has helped boost market growth in the U.S. Microsoft and Google, have made SMT technology very popular across the world thanks to their free online engines.


  • Machine translation in healthcare is expected to gain market share from 2015 to 2022. The ever increasing need for accurate, timely translation of large amounts of content is expected to push the demand in various industries.


  • Millions of segments of glossaries, bilingual texts, and other data are required for an MT engine to learn by examples when we approach the training of Statistical MT translation engines. The demand for SMT and Hybrid Machine Translation (like PangeaMT) has increased over the past few years, due to its effectiveness over rule-based systems in terms of development time and cost. Research shows it is to remain the largest in the technology market through 2022.


  • Machine translation providers tend to commercialize their products and machine translation services through their own websites, although they sometimes sell indirectly through a network of specialist agents. However, the majority of providers prefer having a direct sales channel. Machine Translation solutions are available as commercial software solutions or as free, web-based applications (e.g., Microsoft Bing Translator and Google Translate). 

For more information please click on:

Short overview of PangeaMT platform without API for in-house translation engine generation and translation

Google Translate error from vegetable to clitoris

Thanks to Google Translate error Spanish town calls for clitoris festival

Google Translate error mistranslates Galician vegetable food festival and makes town the world’s laughing stock

There are 11,000 inhabitants in Spain’s town of As Pontes, Galicia. This is the rainy, Atlantic North West. Portuguese language and Portugal herself broke away in the Middle Ages as a separate country, but Galician and what later become Portuguese are closely related languages. So close, it seems, that Google Translate was having a hard time telling them apart. And due to the naivety of some town officials, what was meant to be a culinary festival celebrating the local grelo, became the world’s joke. The leafy green vegetable similar to broccoli but without the large head, also popular in Italian cuisine, was mistranslated for a Portuguese slang word.

However, this small town has become rather famous because it has been marketing a very different kind of festival for the last few months. A Google Translate error turned the Galician word grelo into the wrong Castilian Spanish and it ended up inviting people to take part in a “clitoris festival”.

Google Translate error from vegetable to clitoris

Google Translate error: from vegetable

Google Translate error turns vegetable into clitoris

….to something rather different










Local officials in As Pontes first wrote the announcement for their annual grelo festival in Galician language, which is also an official language in the region. Unfortunately, they used machine translation software Google Translate for the Spanish version of their text. This meant that suddenly the town’s “Feria do grelo” or “Rapini festival” that is held every February with tastings and awards for the best grelos became the “Clitoris festival”.

The translated announcement read something like:

“The clitoris is one of the typical products of Galician cuisine. Since 1981 … the festival has made the clitoris one of the star products of its local gastronomy.”

Customized machine translation has proven very successful when systems have been built for a purpose in mind and with the proper terminology for a field. The dangers of using general, uncontrolled and generalistic online machine translations are many. Town officials said it was likely the translation error was on the official website for several months before it someone noticed it earlier November and hit the headlines in the world’s press.

The officials believe that the online translation tool must have misunderstood the Galician word for the Portuguese one. “Grelo” means rapini, a green cruciferous vegetable that looks like a small broccoli but without the large head. Rapini is marketed the US as broccoli raab/rabe. In Portuguese vulgar slang, it can also refer to the clitoris. How Google used statistics to mistranslate the vegetable will make it to the annals of history’s funny machine translation errors.
The town is considering filing an official complaint with Google. According to British newspaper The Guardian, Monserrat García, a town’s spokeperson said: “They should recognise Galician [as a separate language] and translate it accurately.”

One cannot find any trace of this error in Google Translate. The company has manually changed the translation, and grelo now translates as “brote”, which is still not right (for it means “sprout”). Mrs García is still dissatisfied: “It’s still not the best way of describing grelo, as it is a vegetable from the turnip family.”

There has been, nevertheless, a positive aspect to the embarrassing error. The surge of interest in this year’s festival was unprecedented.

Source: (Spanish)

Further reading:
Statistical machine translation platform presented at the European Union
- Customize your own machine translation environment
- The growing popularity of machine translation services
- Mistakes in Translation and Advertising that will Make Your International Business Fail