Canadian author, Cheryl K. Tardif, recently published an English summary of her new book Die Melodie der Wale on a German website. I had translated the book for her, so imagine my horror when one of the readers wondered who had translated this summary – “Hopefully not the translator of the book!” Oops! When submitted to the website, the incoming summary text had been automatically machine translated into German, and the content was less than acceptable. In fact, it was plain awful! Therefore - beware! Not a good idea to submit any announcements or press releases to a foreign-language website before they have been carefully translated into your target language!
While I am at it, here is a second example of bad machine translation from right here in my hometown: I recently explored a new, rather exclusive hotel, which offers a computerized tourist information system with a choice of several languages. For the fun of it, I checked the German site. Hilarious entertainment! The translations for everything - from points of interest, to restaurants, to local history - were basically incomprehensible. Businesses: be sure you invest in a good translator, instead of becoming the laughing stock of potential customers! I actually alerted the front desk staff to this embarrassing affair, but as of yet, no changes have been made. Oh well!