(Should blog more often. Ahem.)

I believe a screenshot is in order. I was just trying to take a look at Gentium, which is an awesome font.

SIL makes awesome contributions to open source and open fonts. I’m not denying that.

I am, however, somewhat wary of a group of linguists who put frigging Google Translate on their home page. This goes right in the category of “should know better than that, dammit”.

Especially when the way Google Translate is deployed pretty much instantly discredits itself.

Google Translate, or Translator?

I’ve ranted about this before. Automatic translation is good for personal analysis - if you need to figure out what a passage of text means, and you don’t know the language, automatic translation can be a very valuable tool. But it is not a substitute for localised customer service in for-profit companies. Nor, in case of an organisation like SIL, is it a substitute for providing free information in multiple languages.

And in this screenshot, it should be terrifyingly apparent why.

Google Translate can’t even present its own interface to the user in a consistently localised manner. Are they using Google Translate for their own bloody interface? Whatever gods there be willing, I hope not.

Here, Google Translate presents itself as “Google Kääntäjä”… and “Google Käännä”. Neither is correct, by the way.

Now, in their infinite wisdom, the original translators of Google Translate user interface chose to call the system “Google-kääntäjä”, and the actual page just uses “Kääntäjä” (“Translator”), which to me rings correct, as in “Google’s very own ‘Translate’ product”.

You will, of course, note two things. The most obvious is that “kääntäjä” means “Translator”, not “Translate”; in Finnish, verbs are not usually used in titles like this. This is why “Google Käännä”, the literal translation of “Google Translate”, sounds very funny. But “Google Translator” doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

The second issue is the compound noun one: “Google Kääntäjä” (or “Google kääntäjä” as it’s styled in the above logo) is wrong. There’s supposed to be a dash. The latter part shouldn’t be capitalised, unless Google Translate was actually invented in 1920s or so and is powered by Steam-Engines. Tempora mutantur. Hence, “Google-kääntäjä”.

OK, enough ranting for one day…