Machine Translation vs Human Translation: Prince of Bel Air Google Translated

18th Jan 2013

Prince of Bel Airtheme song - these are the lyrics we’ve heard millions of times, but have we ever heard the lyrics of the song after they’re put in Google Translate? CDZA co-founder Joe Sabia shows us what happens when we translate the lyrics of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air through Google Translate into every language (64 times) and then taking what remains and translating back into ENGLISH.

Many people think of translation as changing text from one language to another, but it is a lot more than that. Translation includes transferring a person’s thoughts and emotions into another language. It takes a large amount of responsibility and skill to take one person’s words and change them into another language, while staying true to the essence of the writer. Nowadays, there are two ways in which text conversion can be done, machine and human translation.

Human translation has been going for hundreds of years, since man first started writing down his language into a written text, while machine conversion is a much more recent development, caused by the increase in technology. Machine conversion is also known as CAT or Computer Assisted Translation. This name itself is self-explanatory, as computers are now being used to carry out conversion work. Even though these software are quite useful, they come with their own set of downsides.

Machine translation is quite a fast process, doing in seconds what would take a professional translator hours or even days to complete. Despite its remarkable speed, machine translators perform a literal translation of the text which at times can make no sense when read. This is because sentence formation is different in different languages. They translate every word in the text and string them together. This can, at times, be very confusing. However, human translators are able to read and understand the context of the script before converting it. This enables a much clearer and precise conversion. This is quite useful when the text involves usage of idioms, proverbs and other cultural references.

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Here at Pearl, we firmly believe in human translation and this video shows just why having qualified linguists is so important to our business and client retention.  Machine translation is no substitute for the processes that we have in place here.

For more information on our translation services, please call us on 020 7253 7700 or email


Rita Miskunaite, Project Manager


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