Lost in translation

Don’t use Google translate for your foreign language homework. Period. Sure, if you’re just looking for the general idea of a passage of foreign language text, this tool is nifty. However, translation is one area where it is best not to succumb to our robot overlords.

Translation technology has yet to surpass the skills of actual human translators with their years of study of grammar and syntax and how one language’s idioms translate into another’s.

Case in point: This video from CDZA takes the text from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s theme song and runs it through all languages on Google translate and then back into English. Hilarity ensues.



Still, it’s amazing that we have come as far as we have with computer translations. Here is a video by Google that explains how its translation program works.


If all else fails, you can fake your way through translation like British comedian Catherine Tate does in this video.

Or maybe not.

4 thoughts on “Lost in translation

  1. Oh dear Google Translate, how I rely on you day in, day out to get by in my life as an expat in Germany. I constantly have a tab in Google Chrome open to the Google Translate page; at the ready to cut & paste some German words or vice versa. And how I am constantly frustrated by your lack of ability to translate accurately!


  2. Actually, on that topic of different languages…have you considered doing some posts on British vs. American English. I come from Australia and regularly come across this conundrum. Also, I get confused on program vs. programme…but not sure if this is just a difference in British vs American English too?? You should have a way on this blog for people to message you with suggestions for blog posts…


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