Once upon a time, there was no such thing as Google Translate. Anyone that needed a translation had no other choice than to consult a translator or translation company. Nowadays, people are unsure whether machine translation technology has advanced far enough to be trusted.
To help you make your mind up, we’ve translated a key line from ‘The three little pigs’ using machine translation software.
“I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down!”
Everyone knows this most famous line from the wolf in ‘The three little pigs’. The terrifying wolf has sent fear into the bones of many a child at bedtime over the years.
In German, this line is:
“Ich werde husten und prusten und dir dein Haus zusammen pusten!”
Google Translate has translated this as:
“I’ll cough and flail and blow your house together!”
Reading about the wolf coughing and flailing doesn’t quite conjure up the same image in your mind does it? The wolf is no longer a strong, beastly creature, but rather an awkward, spluttering animal that the three little pigs are more likely to laugh at than be terrified of. And not to mention the lack of rhyme and roll-off-your-tongue rhythm which is present in the original German and English!
Whilst this poor translation doesn’t change the ‘happily ever after’ for the third little pig in his house of bricks, stylistically it doesn’t live up to the original by any stretch of the imagination.
So, if you opt to use machine translation instead of a translation company, remember that a machine probably won’t translate with style and tone in mind, and may give your readers the wrong impression.
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Disclaimer: All of the translation examples given in this blog represent the translation quality provided by the online translation tools in question at the time of publishing.