The following is an excerpt from the world famous children’s book, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry.
• First is the original French language version,
• Then an excerpt translated by professional, human translators,
• and, finally, by machine translation.
The yellow highlighted portions show differences between human linguists and machine translation and how those differences fundamentally change the meaning of the content.
Mais, si tu m’apprivoises, ma vie sera comme ensoleillée. Je connaîtrai un bruit de pas qui sera différent de tous les autres. Les autres pas me font rentrer sous terre. Le tien m’appellera hors du terrier, comme une musique. Et puis regarde ! Tu vois, là-bas, les champs de blé ? Je ne mange pas de pain. Le blé pour moi est inutile. Les champs de blé ne me rappellent rien. Et ça, c’est triste ! Mais tu as des cheveux couleur d’or. Alors ce sera merveilleux quand tu m’auras apprivoisé ! Le blé, qui est doré, me fera souvenir de toi. Et j’aimerai le bruit du vent dans le blé…
But if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . .”
But, if you tame me, my life will become bright. I will know a sound of footsteps that will be different from all the others. The other steps make me go underground. Yours will call me out of the burrow, like music. And then look! Do you see the wheat fields over there? I do not eat bread. Wheat for me is useless. The wheat fields remind me of nothing. And that is sad! But you have golden hair. So it will be wonderful when you tame me! The wheat, which is golden, will remind me of you. And I will love the sound of the wind in the wheat …
As you can see, Machine Translation (MT) should never be used when you need precision and guaranteed accuracy; that is what our Full-Service Professional Translations provide. Please do not use MT for anything medical, legal or professional; its main purpose is to get the sense of what something says in other language.
MT is very inaccurate going into or from the languages of Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East; from or into the indigenous languages of Latin America, Africa and India; and from or into the languages of elsewhere in Asia.
Do be very careful if you use it to translate your websites, videos, manuals, instructions. Some mistakes will be comical and some will be serious. What does the lack of precision say about your enterprise? Will your customers assume that you consider them unworthy of first-rate service? What is your personal and organization’s reputation worth?