Businesses Try to Fix Machine Translation

Illustration: Shaw Nielsen By Steven Norton Steven Norton The Wall Street Journal CANCEL Biography @steven_norton steven.norton@wsj.com October 14, 2015 0 COMMENTS When Etsy Inc. ETSY -5.77 % lists a “clutch” or “cross-body bag” for sale in its online marketplace, it’s usually listed as a bag. When machines translate those listings into other languages, “clutch” often becomes an automotive part and “cross-body bag” takes on a more morbid meaning. And when the company needs to translate product descriptions, machines sometimes spit out impersonal phrases. A warm “Thanks for visiting!” is translated into French as “Merci pour la recherche,” more akin to “Thanks for researching.” A truer translation Machine-translation tools are a boon for companies that need to get content like website copy or user manuals into another language quickly and easily.…


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