When Free Translation Just Doesn’t Cut It

3d renderer image. Translate foreign languages on computer keyboard. Education and translation concept.

With the World Wide Web at our fingertips, it is very easy for us to go on our computer or phone to search for anything. When you need information about something, what do you do? You Google it.

Google is a very useful platform that offers many different services for both the computer savvy and beginners. Google search is the most used search engine. Another thing that is widely used is Google Translate. And it is free!

Google can translate more than 100 languages within a few seconds. It is very useful when you need a translation of short sentences, but it could go horribly wrong when it is used to translate long paragraphs. It is a robot, it is not able to catch the exact context of sentences and it usually translates word per word which can sound very funny when the two languages do not have the same syntax. It is a one-size-fits-all solution.

You might ask a friend who speaks both languages to translate a few words or sentences you don’t understand, but that is just how far it could go.

Small translation errors can result in big losses or misunderstandings. Google Translate also cannot detect cultural understanding in a content that can be a very sensitive matter. An advantage of hiring a professional translator is he or she is usually a native-speaking translator. It guarantees that your completed document picks up any local or cultural influences or references.

When should you decide to shell out and just leave it to the pros?


Advertising materials must be translated professionally if a brand wants to keep its brand image. Wrong translations can destroy a brand’s image and positioning in the market. People will perceive the brand as “cheap” as they did not even invest in hiring a professional to edit their copywriting or slogan. A Google Translated slogan can sound very funny, out of context or just outright ridiculous.


If not properly translated, legal documents may lead to lawsuits. Involving industry specific jargon, the exact specific context of this type of paperwork may possibly lead to actions breaching the terms of the contract. Thus, investing in a professional translation is just always the better option.


The medical field also cannot use Google Translate. It needs highly professional translators to translate medical terms in documents as it can be a matter of life and death. It deals with people’s health and a slight error in translation can be deadly. This is not an exaggeration. Hiring a medical translation service is not just highly recommended, but it is a MUST.

When you add the complexity of a subject like law or the importance of a subject like medical diagnosis, you realize how critical quality interpretation is. Many times, the translator or interpreter must clearly communicate complex concepts or technical or specialized language.

Ask yourself this question: Is relying on a non-professional to translate or interpret your critical business, healthcare, legal or other communication worth the incidental savings?

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