During election season, it’s important to make sure your messaging and documentation reaches all potential voters and supporters and it all begins with encouraging voters to come to the polls. The title of this post uses a Google Translate Spanish translation of the word “let” that would be correct if we were referring to the voting actions of our friends. However, in most situations the correct translation would be “Vamos a voter.”


This example shows why an advanced technology like Machine Translation (MT) is not suitable for highly-regulated, visible, and specialized content like what’s used during US Elections. Both my and Google’s translations are grammatically correct, yet Google Translate fails to recognize the context and usage of the expression, producing a translation that is not even close to the real meaning.


This is just one of many issues that arise when using MT to translate election content. For instance, did you know it’s illegal in most states to use machine translation for official elections documentation? Fortunately, computer-aided translation (CAT) tools are an option and are used extensively to translate official election documents, providing larger volume, faster turnaround, and better quality at lower costs.


What’s the difference between using CAT tools and MT to translate official US election documents? Human intervention. Humans are still superior to computers when it comes to translation because we can recognize things like context, nuance, common usage, and culturally appropriate details. Professional translators regularly produce more accurate, readable, and compliant election material translations on time by using CAT tools, style guides and other assets, and follow a 3-step translation process that includes, editing and proofreading.


Don’t let potential votes go to waste because of language barriers and communication gaps.  Download our brief on elections translation and let us know if you have any questions about how we can help you translate your official election documents.