Transperfect turns Israeli misstep into opportunity…

I had a bit of a chuckle the other day when I read this article about a recent incident where a bunch of Israeli journalists offended a Dutch Government Minister with a shoddy letter translated through everybody’s friend Babelfish.

While in the right settings Machine Translation is an amazing technology there are certainly times where I wish we could just put the cork back on free machine translation on the Internet. Heck, even a big disclaimer pop-up that says “If it’s important, or needs to be intelligible this is not the right tool!” would maybe save a lot of grief.

I had meant to blog about this when I first saw it but it got pushed to the back burner with the whirlwind of activity going on here at the office – by today I thought the story had run its course.

Then I saw the following:

TransPerfect Offers Association of Israeli Journalists Pro Bono Translation Services After Online Translation Blunder Sparks ”Major, Major Incident”

Group of Israeli Journalists Rely on Online Translation Tool; End Up Asking Dutch Foreign Minister about the Sleeping Arrangements of His Mother

Translation Mishap Leads to Dutch Foreign Ministry to Consider Canceling Press Event and Filing Formal Complaint

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Three days after the Dutch Foreign Ministry notified Israel it had received questions regarding the minister’s mother from Israeli journalists, TransPerfect, the world’s largest privately held translation company, officially offered the Association of Israeli Journalists pro bono translation services.

Source: BusinessWire

Brilliant. A nod of the hat to the marketing folks at TransPerfect for jumping on that opportunity!