Fiverr Community Forum

Users who use Google Translate for translation work

Hello, everyone. I’m new to this site, so I’m kind of wondering about if there is some way to report people who seem to be exploiting people on here.

I offered up a gig asking some French-speakers to use some French expressions in context and offer up an equivalent in English. To ensure that the people who were responding knew a good amount of French, I asked them to translate a short sentence in which I used some phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions, both of which I know Google does not do very well with. I received several responses to my gig. A couple of them were pretty good (I speak French as a third language and it was my concentration at uni, only outsourcing this task since I wasn’t very familiar with using these expressions) - it was clear that they had a knowledge of the French language because the response they gave was one I already knew how to translate and which would come naturally to a native speaker who also speaks English relatively well.

This one user, however, gave me a word-for-word, awkwardly worded copy-paste from Google with no shame whatsoever, even telling me that they hoped I was “impressed by their level in French” and was hoping to hear from me soon.

Some people come on here to outsource some professional projects, and to think that there are people like this on the site who will gladly exploit you is just shameful. Is there any recourse? Can I at least recommend to Fiverr that they have a specific gig offering removed?

Either way, I just want to remind all of you that, if possible, find some way to test/verify someone’s skills before hiring them for a gig. I realize that you get what you pay for, but there are also some people who will gladly give you nothing for what you paid for.


There are some bad sheep in the herd everywhere. I appreciate your testing method and that’s very good. This is just because some non-native people have chosen this site to make some easy money by bluffing clients
Courtesy : Google providing every opportunity to these black sheeps to bluff. hahaha

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Wow, that sounds awful. I hope there aren’t many people who fail to notice when a seller uses google translate to translate any language and get their money back or at least leave a bad review to let others now.

As a translator, I’m aware of this, and I hate it. Contrary to other areas, where the buyer knows if the work is well done or not, in translations many times buyers don’t speak the target language of the translation. So they don’t know whether they’re getting a good quality service or not.
I think that eventually those scammers get caught, but some buyers will never know that they’re using a Google translation in their business website, documents,…

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but - In defense of Google Translate, it can be a useful tool for finishing the broad strokes. I gets a LOT wrong a LOT of the time (even with Esperanto), but it’s still good at fleshing out the bulk of the text so that the translator can finish the fine strokes him or herself.

jamesbulls said: it's still good at fleshing out the bulk of the text so that the translator can finish the fine strokes him or herself
I have tried that, and I always find the translation too awful to work from it. Even if some sentences get translated in an understandable way and are grammatically correct, most times they need to be reworded to sound natural. For me, it's easier and faster to start from scratch. Probably, it also depends on the language pair. I guess that if used to translate Spanish -> Italian the result would be better than English -> Chinese.

However, I find Google Translate a very useful tool. I use it often when want to read, for example, a forum in German or a Japanese blog, where knowing what they’re taking about is enough. But not for paid translation works.

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Reply to @belengarcia: Oh, for sure it depends on the source and target languages. Russian, for example, does not translate nicely on Google either from or into English. I took Russian for ~10 years and always had a good laugh when I saw those bastardizations. But Esperanto, on the other hand, usually translates pretty well.

Reply to @jamesbulls: I hear you. I’m not bashing Google Tranlate; that’s a bit too easy.
What I’m trying to say is that the person offering the gig used it for ALL the strokes, which is tantamount to offering up a gig that reads, “I will translate your text from English into French by copy-pasting your text in Google Translate”, except that they wouldn’t actually mention the Google Translate part.

I agree that there are certainly a lot of tools out there on the web that many a translator have in their arsenal. Any dictionary or translation tool has its place in that arsenal, and someone who speaks a language well enough who perhaps also happens to be a great translator knows how to use that arsenal to complement their craft. I think we can agree that this was an abuse of that.

To better appreciate this, imagine that you had asked me to translate “elle m’a posé un lapin”. If you spoke French well enough, you’d be aware that this this is an expression that means “to stand somebody up.” If I respond to you, “She placed me a rabbit” (its literal translation), and then saw the word-for-word translation on Google confirming that, you’d probably think I was taking you for an idiot. What I received what the equivalent of that; for ‘she stood me up’, I was offered the French equivalent of ‘she raised me herself up’ - 'elle me se leva, which makes no sense in French either.

Anyway - all of that to say, just be aware, people!

Reply to @entredeuxeaux: Yes, but also keep in mind that someone who is not a native English speaking person, may actually think Google IS really good translation and that there is nothing wrong with it. I mean it is Google after all one of the biggest sites in the world.

Reply to @sincere18:

I don’t mind if English is not their first language. As a matter of fact, I was actually seeking out native French-speakers or at least Francophones who live in an area where French is spoken. My thinking was that they will be familiar with the French expressions that I had asked them to translate. I can understand a bit if they mess up the English (I anticipated that) but the French? Not so much. On top of that, this person gave me a translation that doesn’t even make sense in French.

All of that aside, translation work requires a decent working knowledge of the source language (English, in this case) meaning that that a non-native English speaker should still have a good enough mastery of English to know what is said in the first place to be able to even translate it to another language. Obviously, if you’re going to tell me what something means, you have to know what it means first, right? On the flip side of that, even if you know what something means, you should still know if the translation you offered makes sense in the target language.

I must say that I did end up finding someone to do my gig, and a few of the equivalent expressions for the English aren’t things we typically say, but I definitely understood the meaning and I’m very happy with the way things turned out. I’d like more business to go toward people like the lady with whom I worked and not diverted to those who are less deserving.