Be careful with Google translate!

Google translateThis past Friday morning my Mandarin teacher cancelled our lesson due to an early March east coast U.S. snow.  She sent me the message entirely in Chinese characters and I understood what she wrote without using Google Translate.  I have a program in which I can write in pinyin (English alphabet entry of words that sound like Chinese characters – type in ni hao and you get what looks like 你好 – it works pretty well as long as you know the pinyin).

What I thought I wrote in Chinese characters to my Mandarin teacher:

“Morning Grace (Jie Hua is her Chinese name),I understand.  Next Monday I am going to the New York office.  Is next Friday possible?


After I sent it I thought to copy and paste what I thought I wrote in Chinese characters into Google translate. 

 This is what I got:

“Early Jie Hua

Hydrogen. The nest (Monday) came up with the New York office. Next Friday could that be?

Horse off”

Here’s a warning for you.  Be careful with Google translate.  The application is very good (and free) but don’t, don’t, don’t, rely on it for an accurate translation. 

只是说- Just sayin’


About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
This entry was posted in Best business practices, Communication, International business, Technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Be careful with Google translate!

  1. HallieCantor says:

    Someone once had the phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” e-translated. The result: “Invisible, insane.” Which may point to some of the problems inherent in idioms or any kind of figurative language, especially in American English.


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