How to Evaluate the Quality of Free Online Translation (Part 1)

How to evaluate the quality of free online translation without knowing the target foreign language? Maybe it is not so bad after all?

Some realtors put a link on their website to a free online translation tool that is supposed to translate their content into any foreign languages with one click, and hope to attract foreign buyers this way.

Before you go this route, please come to think of the quality of the translated text you are going to show to the world! Will it bring you foreign buyers or will it damage your business reputation instead?

So, you want your website to be understood by people reading it in their language that you do not know yourself. And it seems so easy – installing just one button with a list of languages on your site. Okay, but what will people see on your site in this or that language?

There are three probable ways for you to evaluate the quality of a free online translation into a foreign language:

– Method #1. Find a real estate related website in the language under consideration (Google works in many countries and languages, for instance, and it is easy to decide that a website is about real estate – just looking at images of homes). Copy some pieces of the text in the foreign language from this website and translate them into English (or maybe into your other own language if this is the matter) in a free online translation tool. How would you like this new real estate related English text? Would you like your English website to read something like this to your English-speaking clients?
Meaning: What if your foreign language website is going to look like this to the foreign readers in their language? If you are happy with the result, then go ahead and put this free online translator button on your website for this language. If you are not happy with the result, better stay away from this free translator not to look unprofessional.

– Method #2. Find a native speaker in the language you are considering and show her or him the result of any machine translated pieces of real estate texts from English, or your own language if other than English, into that language. Listen to their opinion on the text.

– Method #3. Try to apply the so called “back translation”. The term means that you translate from the language E into the language X, then back from X into E and compare the double-translated result (there and back) with the initial text in E. If they are pretty close, then the translation into the target language X has proven to be good.
By the way, reputable translation agencies use this method sometimes for their very significant clients when the results of their work are of the absolute importance, although it makes the process much more expensive of course (actually doubling the price, as one translator does the first part of the job – from E into X – and another highly qualified professional translates the same text back – from X into E).

More about some important details of using this third method of evaluating any free online translation tool in the next post.

Copyright © 2016 by Olga Kellen
All Rights Reserved
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