You Should Never Rely on Google Translate (Here's Why)

By Nick Cowen on at

For some, the existence of Google Translate – and a tonne of other online translation tools – means that they think they'll never again have to bother learning a new language. Well, guess again.

While online translation apps are good for getting a sense of what's been typed out in a foreign language, it turns out that they're rather useless if you want to use them to hold a conversation with anyone.

In his latest video YouTuber Tom Scott takes us through the some of the problems that occur with online translation and points out that while Google Translation is certainly capable of matching words and concepts provided it has the contexts to work with, it misses out a lot of the subtle nuances of conversational language. Our favourite example in the video is when Scott points out that an American and an English person saying "that's a brave idea!" don't mean the same thing.

Scott goes into quite some depth in the video – noting the difference in expectations between monochronic and polychronic societies and how everything from beliefs to conversational innuendos differ from culture to culture. So while online translation can give you a better gist as to what a bilingual mate has just posted on Facebook, if you use it as a work around for everyday conversation you may come off looking like a bit of a prat. Doing this, as Scott points out, is "a brave idea".