21 11 2020
Australian Govt in soup over Google Translation for COVID-19 messaging
What has happened with the Australian government could happen to any organization or government for that matter when they try to save some money and instead of hiring professional translation services, go for automated translations. According to the latest development in Australia, the government is defending its decision to use Google Translation for COVID19 messaging to the people. The government had used multilingual messaging especially for multicultural communities.
It has come to the notice that the Department of Home Affairs of Australian Government official translators were sidelined. The result of such a decision according to the local media was ‘nonsensical and “laughable” language translations of COVID-19 public health messages that were distributed to multicultural communities in the country.
The multilingual COVID19 messaging debacle has been an embarrassing episode for the current government. Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles has been quoted saying that everyone in Australia knows the government shouldn’t be relying on Google Translate to translate important public health information and yet it was done.
Risk with Automated Translation of COVID19 messages
The opposition parties in Australia have attacked the government for using automated translation for COVID19 messaging as according to them this prompted fears that migrants and refugees and they would lose trust in the Government’s handling of the crisis. For instance, in one Tweet from the Federal Government which should have been telling the Chinese speakers where to look for more details about the pandemic, actually read “Use your language supplied information”.
Now, question is, can such a serious health message should be left for automated translation? This is not just a matter of health but the lives of thousands of people and the government according to the opposition parties in Australia, should have hired professional translation services providers. Any gaps in COVID19 messaging could have led to disaster and extremely dangerous for the multicultural people since they trusted the government in good faith.
Can automotive translation always be trusted?
This will always be a debatable question whether organizations should only trust machine translation or human translation. It is equally important to understand that only a human translation can tell the difference as the machine just does the direct word to word translation. Even if machine translation is done, it should be supervised and monitored as well as quality checked by human translators. Perhaps, other organizations and governments would learn from the mistakes from the Australian government.
Since, the grammatical structure and style of each language is different, machine translation could not make adjustments the way human translators do. Moreover, as these elements are crucial to successful translation, machine translations are not as better as are human translation. Although machine translations are easy and fast as well as low-cost, they could lead to erroneous translation. Therefore, it is always a great idea to hire human translators with great knowledge and experience.