The Seattle Times reports that the Secretary of State’s website in Washington state had a machine translation system that wrought havoc with Chinese.
bq. …the Chinese translation was apparently way off. For example, a statement about Secretary of State Sam Reed proposing “statewide mandates to restore public trust” was translated as “Swampy weed suggests whole state order recover open trust,” …
By law, however, certain groups have to be given equal rights to access to election material. Chiense and Korean translations have now been removed from the website. Apparently the MT system is functioning adequately for Russian, Japanese, French, German, Spanish and Italian.
bq. Gachot said people who are “perfectly bilingual” quickly spot any errors in translation and tend to focus on the software’s shortcomings. “This service is for people who don’t speak very much English at all,” he said.
bq. He says the accuracy level is around 75 percent. That can be improved by tweaking the site, Gachot said, but it’s tough to get accurate translations on sites with a wide variety of topics and posted information that changes often.
Debby Hsu, a members of a lobbying group, who criticizes the system, says ‘having no translation is better than having very bad translation’.
(Via Taccuino di Traduzione)