July 09, 2008
On automated translation and University websites
Unfortunately, all automated web translation services (Google Translate, Babelfish...) make usage mistakes that damage the reputation of the site and the institution. Unless you're using an automated system solely for personal / internal cases, it's almost always better to either hire a translation service or to not do any translation at all until you have that capacity.
If the institution in question offers foreign-language services, the relevant staff could also proofread the automated translation services' output before it is posted. If the institution doesn't offer foreign-language services, the value of providing translated materials is questionable and may even be misleading. (unless the materials are broadcast-oriented or targeted to a specific audience, like health pamphlets, which should never be machine translated)
(crossposted from www-sig)