Care enough? Put in the time

As a translator, google translate is the bane of my existence. Not that you shouldn’t use it, it’s great for isolated words and short phrases, but websites? Give me a break.

Which is why I’m glad the new Yamagata website used humans for the main translations. I actually complained directly to the prefectural governor just over a year ago, and I am glad she took my words seriously.

Looking at the translations though, you really do see a need for not just translation, but localisation. The translators did a great job, but the source material they were working with isn’t exactly easy to use. So, ultimately you need someone with an ability in both languages who also understands the culture behind both. That is never easy to come across, but they do exist, and I’m one of them when it comes to the Dewa Sanzan 🙂 or at least I try to be.

I understand that it’s not easy to find people with an experience like mine, but you have to think of the purpose of the website in the first place. If you’re wanting to get people to visit the prefecture, which is usually the aim of such websites, google translate can have the opposite effect.

It can be off putting to see a website that doesn’t care enough to provide information in proper English or the language you speak, but thankfully the opposite is true. Caring enough to put in the time to create content that resonates with the people you wish to serve, that is the real determiner.



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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan

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