Stir-fried Wikipedia

The second part of our new article series: Translation mistakes.

Adam Wooten who is vice president at a well-known translation and localization company highlights a number of translation mistakes stemming from machine translation. The translation mistakes are generally funny… With the developments in machine translation technology, more and more people resort to Google Translate (or to similar softwares) for everyday texts and phrases. However, machine translation “always” requires double-check for the following reasons:  

“Google Translate and other free online translation tools can be great for instant, informal translation. When expectations are properly set, particularly for low-value text, unedited machine translation can be quite useful. However, when a user overestimates machine translation capabilities, the results can be confusing at best.

When one online machine translation tool apparently mistranslated a common Chinese word as “Wikipedia,” Chinese menus began popping up everywhere with English translations for menu items like “stir-fried Wikipedia” and “barbecued Congo eel with Wikipedia and fermented bean curd.” Though odd, the error is relatively harmless. However, when the text has important implications in law, finance or marketing, the results can be terribly costly.”

For the original article, click here.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Cole on November 14, 2011 at 14:43

    I am always surprised by what you can find on Chinese translated menus. This stir-fried Wikipedia is simply amazing, I have no ideas how it could be published for real!

    When it comes to Google Translate, translators always agree that there it has been the most catastrophic invention of the last few years. Even though there are more and more blogs like this where the extreme bas use of it are highlighted, it is clearly not enough to convince people that they CANNOT rely on it.

    It is important to understand that for professional translation services we would need to rely on something more than just Google Translate, and perhaps think about contacting a professional translator to do the job for us.


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