Applying Google Translate in a higher education environment: Translation products assessed

  • Alta van Rensburg
  • Cobus Snyman
  • Susan Lotz

Abstract

In some South African higher education environments, a significant number of documents are translated in order to help facilitate successful learning. However, in an attempt to reduce the cost of translation, lecturers and students often explore avenues other than professional translation to have their study material translated. Often just any bilingual person is approached to translate or a free web-based translation application such as Google Translate is employed. This article describes a study in which the quality of translation products created by Google Translate, a translation student and a professional translator were assessed and compared. Six different text types were translated, one document each from Afrikaans into English and another from English into Afrikaans. Five raters assessed the quality of the 36 translation products using Colina’s assessment tool (2009). The results showed that a client would not have to spend much time correcting translation products by a professional translator, but that the translations by Google Translate needed substantial improvement in their quality. Of the six text types translated by Google Translate, the PowerPoint slides yielded the best results. Nevertheless, the quality was still below average, and the texts would require extensive post-editing for their function to be met.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies/i> 2012, 30(4): 511–524

Author Biographies

Alta van Rensburg
Language Centre, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
Cobus Snyman
Language Centre, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
Susan Lotz
Language Centre, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
Published
2013-01-14
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614