Friday, July 9, 2010

Lost In (Machine) Translation

Last March, I shared a theory of mine that most Hispanics expect Spanish-language web sites to be poor quality and, as a result, use the English-language version of a site even if Spanish is their preferred language. Expectations tend to be low because often the Spanish-language version of a given web site tends to be inferior to the English version.
With Google's free machine translation software, Google Translate, showing up on an increasing number of web sites, I'm afraid that Hispanic online expectations are at risk of declining further.

Google Translate is Free. Or is it?

Many marketers and web managers looking to reach Spanish speakers online view Google Translate as the silver bullet. Copy and paste a little snippet of code into your web site and, presto, your web site is now available in Spanish (or any other language). As a result, you can now find Google Translate on many web sites including those of countless federal, state and local governments.

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