I've been hearing a lot about pluses and minuses of machine translation lately. I had some discussions with a person who strongly believes in machine translation and its quality. I also met some other people who honestly believe that professional translators think too highly of themselves and their skills while in reality it's a simple job that can easily be done with the help of some software.Then last week I came across an article about a recent scandal in the Web connected with machine translation. Guess which organization tried to use it to translate its website? You won't believe it. It was Russian Academy of Sciences. Nobody knows how it happened that this institution chose to use machine translation (or hired a "professional" who used it). The result of this "work" was instantly noticed by bloggers all over the web.Some pearls include: the Squirrel Institute (instead of Institute of Protein Research), Botanic sad-institute of wounds (it should be Botanical Garden-Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences), Institute of organic chemistry of them. N of D of Zelinskogo (it should be Institute of organic chemistry named after N. D. Zelinsky) and other things. I haven't laughed so much for ages. But at the same time I felt so bad for our Academy of sciences and for other clever people who seriously think that our job is so simple that it can be easily done by a machine. Why can't they understand that a software is good only when we just want to get an overall understanding of a text in an unknown language, but it can never understand and translate all the nuances, can't feel the emotions and can't grasp the meaning of polysemantic words. In other words, a machine can never feel a language like a human being can.
What can I say? I feel so sad. Hope the Academy of Sciences in your country doesn't do the same mistake and respects the profession of a translator. Because if the Academy of Sciences doesn't do that, how can we expect ordinary people to value professional translators?
This post was made based on this article.