Lost In Translation: Facebook’s Bing Tool Is Faulty

The Bing translation tool introduced by Facebook last month gets less than half of the translations correct.

Lexiophiles examined Bing translations in 10 languages, including slang terms, and only one language barely squeaked by 50 percent accuracy, with several coming in at under 10 percent.

“Overall, it is highly likely that the translation Facebook suggests to you will be nonsensical, or, worse even, misleading,” Lexiophiles wrote.

Like Lexophiles says:

As you can see, the end result is far from being perfect, even though the example selected was written in flawless French. While the first sentence is comprehensible, albeit not idiomatic, the rest displays some of the several issues characterizing thetranslate feature.

  • The heart icon and the link are not carried over;
  • The meaning of “three seasons in a” cannot even be guessed;
  • “Ma belle” was not translated, and
  • “Vivement les photos” (I cannot wait for the pictures) became — somehow — “3 strongly pictures.”

Slang is always tough to translate, but that’s what most people use in their Facebook posts.

Automation still can’t keep up with what modern vernacular, no matter whether it’s Bing or any other non-human attempting the translation.

Readers: Have you had any humorous translation experiences on Facebook?

Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Marketing with Facebook Insights

Marketing with Facebook InsightsStarting October 2, learn how to use Facebook's analytics tool to track and optimize your marketing efforts! Taught by the group marketing manager of social media at Microsoft/BingAds, Geoffrey Colon will show you how insights works, how to measure key performance indicators, and make your data actionable. Register now!