When I first came to China, 13 years ago, we didn’t have things like smart phones and instant translation apps. In a way I’m grateful, as it forced me to learn Chinese to do the most basic things like order off a menu or read an address. But of course, now things are vastly different. You can scan any text and different apps will instantly translate for you. And chat apps, like wechat, have the translation built in now, so with only a long press of your thumb you can translate anything in seconds.
It makes living here much easier and opens communication between people that might not talk otherwise. Buttttt, just because its free and easy, doesn’t mean it’s without flaws
Take for instance this note, which a foreign teacher found outside his door one day.
The translation was so bad he couldn’t help but laugh and send it to us as well.
For some reason, another foreign teacher decided to translate it himself, and instead of getting the same translation, as you would expect from the same picture in the same app, it came up with something completely different! So naturally we all had to translate it ourselves and the results were amazing.
Stuff like this is why I tell my translation students they will indeed have jobs after graduation and won’t be left behind in the technology revolution. Some things just can’t be done by computers.