Thursday, September 27, 2007

Screen clip of badly translated Czech web site about Olympic Games
Language fun: Personally, I find language (and languages) fun. I think it must be the technical translator in me. So I take an interest in how well websites are translated. A friend of mine recently pointed out a Czech website about the Olympic Games that I suspect has been machine translated into English - and the quality of the English translation is little short of shocking. The phrase "The experience him thrilled." was one on the more intelligible sentences! Read it, and try to work out what the sentences should really say. I must confess, some of them have me defeated.

Reading a badly translated website like this puts a smile on our faces for a few minutes. But there's a very serious point behind this posting. How do you translate your company's website? These days, websites are an important part of our customer-facing literature. Having your website properly translated by experienced, professional translators is an essential, not a luxury. If you are ever tempted to just feed your website through Babelfish on the basis that "at least people will understand the gist of it", then read the Czech Olympic History website, and think carefully about how much of "the gist of it" you actually gleaned. Would you want your customers to gain that sort of impression about your company, about your products? And the sad thing is, behind the unintelligible English, I suspect there is an interesting story about Prague's Olympic history....