Bing Translations Are Not Your Friend—Especially Not on Facebook


I’ve never been a fan of machine translations, but Facebook’s complimentary Bing translation service takes the cake.

Social media is a breeding ground for inside jokes, off-the-wall comments, typos, smileys, and chat acronyms that could throw even the most gifted translator for a loop. Machine translators don’t stand a chance.

For instance, one day my Swedish friend’s mother commented on his post about his kids. Curious, I clicked the Translation button. According to Bing, she said: “China chess o Stain is not so stupid.”

Maybe, just maybe, “china chess” is one of those Swedish things, but a lowercase “o” is definitely not a word in the dictionary—I checked. Basically, I was nowhere closer to understanding what she was saying. Thanks for nothing, Bing!

Of course, Facebook is no longer just about social networking—it is now a prime location for promoting products and services. Brands are spending big bucks to polish their Facebook pages. Little do they know, it could all go down the drain once Bing’s Translation button turns up.

I’ve seen this wolf in sheep’s clothing turn an ad for a singing competition into: “Do you know sing? You dream of gaining a place in the universe the francophone song?

Or Bing’s interpretation of a health campaign, telling people to: “(…) move with your loved ones, for example from walking or by hunting to the cocos of Easter with the children! On the move… in fun!”

In both cases, I’m left wondering why even bother. When it comes to personal posts, the translations totally miss the mark. If you have a company page, it is vital that you manage your inline translations. Your image is on the line!

There may be a place for machine translations, but clearly Facebook is not it.

Bing, be gone.


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