English communication in Graz, Austria
I woke up to find an email from my brother titled “Stephen makes a case for your job security” and I could barely load the video fast enough.
For those of you in Europe who have been cruelly deprived of the humor of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert is one of the most hilarious people on TV and satirizes politicians, the mainstream media, you name it. Yet he’s the funniest when he doesn’t have to do much to make other look bad.
In this segment he shows a speech made by Republican Marco Rubio in Spanish, which was then subtitled by ABC News. Poor ABC News…
As Colbert says,
What a beautiful language, when it’s being phonetically transcribed by a computer that evidently thinks it’s English.
A lot of translators complain that it’s hard to compete when companies can use Google Translate themselves, or outsource translations to companies in Asia who use computers too. But I’ve never been too worried. I’ve had a lot of translating and editing jobs to fix bad translations, and other companies should be aware that they can never trust a computer 100%.
I follow a site on Facebook that uses Bing automatic translations and they are horrible. When I use Google Translate to cross-check, it can be surprisingly good in some areas and then completely botch the simplest sentences. I hope Colbert’s show acts as a warning to ABC and other large companies to treat translation as any other aspect of their business, with care and professionalism.