;   Medical Translation Insight: Congrats to the office of the tape recorder! - ForeignExchange Translations

Congrats to the office of the tape recorder!Las Vegas, the place of hangovers, fun and romance. Many of the visitors getting swept away by all the excitement feel the need to get married in Vegas. Some of these weddings are planned well in advance and some are spur of the moments decisions.

With all of these knots getting tied, it's no wonder that Clark Country (which contains the city of Las Vegas) provides ample information to visiting lovebirds looking to get married.

Trying to be helpful, the county recorder's office provides information in different languages. The German page presents an interesting study in machine translation (at least, I assume the page was not translated by a human linguist).

The most startling issue is right on top: The English heading "Congratulations from the Clark County Recorder's Office!" somehow turned into the German equivalent of "Congratulations to the office of the tape recorder!"

While it's easy to make fun of bad machine translations, this particular instance poses an interesting question: What would be better for Clark County - no translation at all (i.e., letting international visitors translate the English version themselves) or providing a free (or next-to-free) translation that contains some, uh, rough patches?

On one hand, I can see how the current translations make perfect sense. Why pay to have this content translated? This kind of web site is a poster child for not translating your web page: Translation is free on the Internet and for Clark County, there is no image issue. The relatively poor translation quality is acceptable and may even be appreciated by visitors.

On the other hand, if it's done poorly, why do it at all? If I am visiting Las Vegas from abroad and don't speak enough English to understand the main information page, how will I navigate the rest of the process? Also, does providing a pre-translated page really represent a benefit? Visitors could also get the content translated themselves - Google Translate actually provides a much better translation.

What do you think? Is this a case of "good enough" quality and good customer service or an example of ignorance by Clark County's web team?

Further reading:

[Via the √úbersetzungsfehler blog]

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1 Comment:

  1. Nic at CrossLingo said...
    Hilarious! Thanks for the pick-me-up I needed after a long day!

    I agree about the Google translation and can see that this is a pretty easy to understand mistake if you have knowledge of the languages. In the context I think it's a very funny mistake.
    Personally I feel that if you're going to use a free service for anything more than a gist translation for your own understanding, then you should really talk to someone who knows the languages and can tell you if you're making a fool of yourself.

    One thought: the office could have asked a German couple who were coming through to proofread what Google did for them, in exchange for a discounted service. I'm sure many bilinguals would be happy enough to oblige.

    Thanks again for the interesting text. Nic

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