Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2211-3711
  • E-ISSN: 2211-372X
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Machine translation (MT) is now firmly in the public eye. The media can reflect and influence the public perception of MT and, by extension, of translation itself, but the news coverage of MT has to date remained largely unexplored. This study draws on the news framing literature to present an analysis of how MT is described in the written press. Based on a sample of 284 MT-focused newspaper articles, the news reporting on MT was found to be significantly more positive than negative. This positive framing was unrelated to the launch of neural MT. Furthermore, the portrayal of MT in the press tended to lack nuance, with few instances that raised awareness of the technology’s use implications. The study calls for higher standards in the public discussion and promotion of MT and for more research on non-professional conceptualisations of translation technologies and their role in communication.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Adams, Douglas
    1979The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Basingstoke: Pan Macmillan.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Ames, Nick
    2018 “Google Translate: The Unlikely World Cup Hero Breaking Barriers for Fans.” The Guardian, 11July 2018.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Armstrong, Jeremy
    2016 “Sex Attacker ‘Used Google Translate to Search “I Am Interested in You” Before Attacking Schoolgirl.” Mirror Online, 29September 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bahdanau, Dzmitry, Kyunghyun Cho, and Yoshua Bengio
    2015 “Neural Machine Translation by Jointly Learning to Align and Translate.” Accessed3 March 2020, https://arxiv.org/abs/1409.0473
  5. Baker, Mona
    2006Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account. London: Routledge. 10.4324/9780203099919
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203099919 [Google Scholar]
  6. Ballantyne, Neil
    2015 “Human Service Technology and the Theory of the Actor Network.” Journal of Technology in Human Services33 (1):104–117. doi:  10.1080/15228835.2014.998567
    https://doi.org/10.1080/15228835.2014.998567 [Google Scholar]
  7. BBC News
    BBC News 2019 “Translation Errors Force Osaka Metro Websites Offline.” BBC News, March19 2019 Accessed28 October 2019, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-47622639
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Beall, Abigail
    2016 “Google Translate Just Got Better: AI-Powered Software Is Now Almost as Good at Translating Chinese as Humans.” Daily Mail Online, 28September 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Blair, Anthony
    2018 “Google Translate Users TERRIFIED as Site Reveals Disturbing DOOMSDAY Prophecies.” Daily Star Online, 23July 2018.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Bowker, Lynne, and Jairo Buitrago Ciro
    2019Machine Translation and Global Research: Towards Improved Machine Translation Literacy in the Scholarly Community. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited. 10.1108/9781787567214
    https://doi.org/10.1108/9781787567214 [Google Scholar]
  11. Boyle, Darren
    2018 “Sham Wedding Gang Who Made £500,000 Marrying Bogus Couples Who Had to Communicate via Google Translate Are Jailed for 20 Years.” Daily Mail Online, 4April 2018.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Cadwell, Patrick, Sharon O’Brien, and Carlos S. C. Teixeira
    2017 “Resistance and Accommodation: Factors for the (Non-) Adoption of Machine Translation Among Professional Translators.” Perspectives26 (3): 1–21. doi:  10.1080/0907676X.2017.1337210
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2017.1337210 [Google Scholar]
  13. de Vreese, Claes H.
    2005 “News Framing: Theory and Typology.” Information Design Journal + Document Design13 (1): 51–62. 10.1075/idjdd.13.1.06vre
    https://doi.org/10.1075/idjdd.13.1.06vre [Google Scholar]
  14. de Vreese, Claes H., and Hajo Boomgaarden
    2003 “Valenced News Frames and Public Support for the EU.” Communications28 (4): 361–381. doi:  10.1515/comm.2003.024
    https://doi.org/10.1515/comm.2003.024 [Google Scholar]
  15. Dickinson, Greg
    2018 “Is Google Translate Improving or Ruining the Way We Travel?” Telegraph Online, 12April 2018.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla-Mae
    2015 “Google Translate Error Sees Galician Town of As Pontes Accidentally Celebrating ‘Clitoris Festival’.” Independent Online, 3November 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Griffin, Andrew
    2015 “Google Translate Live Translation Upgrade to Let Anyone Speak Any Language, Any Time.” Independent Online, 12January 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Grissom, Robert J., and John J. Kim
    2011Effect Sizes for Research: Univariate and Multivariate Applications, 2nd edition. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Guerberof, Ana
    2013 “What Do Professional Translators Think About Post-Editing?” JosTrans. The Journal of Specialised Translation19:75–95.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Harding, Sue-Ann
    2012 “‘How Do I Apply Narrative Theory?’ Socio-Narrative Theory in Translation Studies.” Target24 (2): 286–309. 10.1075/target.24.2.04har
    https://doi.org/10.1075/target.24.2.04har [Google Scholar]
  21. Hassan, Hany, Anthony Aue, Chang Chen, Vishal Chowdhary, Jonathan Clark, Christian Federmann, Xuedong Huang, Marcin Junczys-Dowmunt, William Lewis, Mu Li, Shujie Liu, Tie-Yan Liu, Renqian Luo, Arul Menezes, Tao Qin, Frank Seide, Xu Tan, Fei Tian, Lijun Wu, Shuangzhi Wu, Yingce Xia, Dongdong Zhang, Zhirui Zhang, and Ming Zhou
    2018 “Achieving Human Parity on Automatic Chinese to English News Translation.” Accessed3 March 2020, https://arxiv.org/abs/1803.05567
  22. Hudson, Rebecca
    2019 “Glenside Care Home Pembroke Lodge Rated ‘Inadequate’ by Care Quality Commission.” Salisbury Journal, 17January 2019.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Hutchins, John
    2010 “Machine Translation: A Concise History.” Journal of Translation Studies. Special issue: The Teaching of Computer-Aided Translation13 (1 and 2) : 29–70.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Jolly, Bradley
    2019 “Couple Who Don’t Speak Same Language Fall in Love – Thanks to Google Translate.” Mirror Online, 9January 2019.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Jun-ho, Lee
    2019 “Can Machine Translation Stand Alone?” The Korea Times, 2March 2019.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Kassam, Ashifa
    2015 “Google Translate Error Sees Spanish Town Advertise Clitoris Festival.” The Guardian, 3November 2015 Accessed28 October 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/03/google-translate-error-as-pontes-spain-clitoris-food-festival-grelo-galicia
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Kockaert, Hendrik J.
    2019 “Machine Translation Still Needs Human Aid.” China Daily Global, 14June 2019.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Korea Times
    Korea Times 2016 “Automated translation app available for PyeongChang Olympics.” The Korea Times, 18July 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Kuria, Winfred
    2015 “Swahili the First African Language on Microsoft Translator.” Nation, 21October 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Latour, Bruno
    1996 “On Actor-Network Theory: A Few Clarifications.” Soziale Welt47 (4):369–381.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Läubli, Samuel, and David Orrego-Carmona
    2017 “When Google Translate is Better than Some Human Colleagues, those People Are no Longer Colleagues.” InProceedings of the 39th Conference Translating and the Computer, London, UK, 16–17 November, 59–69.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. LETA
    LETA 2016 “Riga to Host Annual Conference of European Association for Machine Translation at End-May.” Latvia National News Agency, 6April 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Ma, Alexandra
    2015 “Google Translate’s Mobile App Just Got Even More Magical.” Huffington Post, 29July 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Mokken, R. J.
    1971A Theory and Procedure of Scale Analysis: With Applications in Political Research. The Hague: Mouton. 10.1515/9783110813203
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110813203 [Google Scholar]
  35. Moorkens, Joss, and Sharon O’Brien
    2015 “Post-Editing Evaluations: Trade-Offs Between Novice and Professional Participants.” InProceedings of European Association for Machine Translation (EAMT) 2015, Antalya, edited byİlknur Durgar El-Kahlout, Mehmed Özkan, Felipe Sánchez-Martínez, Gema Ramírez-Sánchez, Fred Hollowood, and Andy Way, 75–81.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Morrison, Sean
    2016 “Teenager ‘Dragged From Pizza Restaurant, Raped and Stabbed’ and Then Used Google Translate to Report Crime.” Mirror Online, 22November 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Muscavage, Nick
    2019 “Franklin Cop Uses Google Translate to Talk to Chinese Theft Victim.” Courier News, 18February 2019.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Neuman, Russell, Marion R. Just, and Ann N. Crigler
    1992Common Knowledge: News and the Construction of Political Meaning. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226161174.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226161174.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  39. Nikkei Weekly
    Nikkei Weekly 1993 “Automatic Translation Approaching Reality: Some Success Achieved, but Systems Still Have Serious Limitations.” Nikkei Weekly, 22February 1993.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Nurminen, Mary
    2018 “Machine Translation in Everyday Life: What Makes FAUT MT Workable?” TAUS eLearning Blogs, 29March 2019 Accessed3 March 2020, https://blog.taus.net/elearning/machine-translation-in-everyday-life-what-makes-faut-mt-workable
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Parsons, Jeff
    2016 “Google Translate Now ‘As Good As a Human’ – Could It Save You on Holiday?” Mirror, 30September 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Perez, Sarah [Google Scholar]
  43. Randall, Liam
    2018 “Wrexham Council Staff Told to Stop Using Google Translate because of Complaints over Welsh Language Errors.” The Leader, 20December 2018.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Rossi, Caroline, and Jean-Pierre Chevrot
    2019 “Uses and Perceptions of Machine Translation at the European Commission.” JosTrans. The Journal of Specialised Translation31: 177–200.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Saxena, Jaya
    2015 “Google Translate Hilariously Messed up the Invite for This Regional Festival.” The Daily Dot, 3November 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Schuck, Andreas R. T., and Claes H. de Vreese
    2006 “Between Risk and Opportunity: News Framing and its Effects on Public Support for EU Enlargement.” 21 (1): 5–32. doi:  10.1177/0267323106060987
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323106060987 [Google Scholar]
  47. 2009 “Reversed Mobilization in Referendum Campaigns: How Positive News Framing Can Mobilize the Skeptics.” 14 (1): 40–66. doi:  10.1177/1940161208326926
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1940161208326926 [Google Scholar]
  48. Sear, Laura
    2018 “Egg-Streme Sports: Norway’s Olympic Squad Accidentally Orders 15,000 Eggs After Asking Google Translate How to Say 1,500 in Korean.” Daily Mail Online, 8February 2018.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Semetko, H. A., and P. M. Valkenburg
    2000 “Framing European Politics: A Content Analysis of Press and Television News.” 50 (2): 93–109. doi:  10.1111/j.1460‑2466.2000.tb02843.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2000.tb02843.x [Google Scholar]
  50. Stachova, Olga
    2019 “Are We Using Google Translate Responsibly?” Hamilton Spectator, 1January 2019.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Stapleton, Paul
    2019 “How Google Translate May Disrupt English Classes, and Every Other Subject, in Hong Kong Schools.” South China Morning Post, 16January 2019.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Stochl, Jan, Peter Jones, and Tim Croudace
    2012 “Mokken Scale Analysis of Mental Health and Well-Being Questionnaire Item Responses: A Non-Parametric IRT Method in Empirical Research for Applied Health Researchers.” BMC Medical Research Methodology12: 74. doi:  10.1186/1471‑2288‑12‑74
    https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-12-74 [Google Scholar]
  53. Tan, Aaron
    2018 “Microsoft’s Chinese-English Translation System Achieves Human Parity.” Computer Weekly, Accessed5 September 2019, https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252436868/Microsofts-Chinese-English-translation-system-achieves-human-parity
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Thomson Reuters
    Thomson Reuters 2020Westlaw. Thomson Reuters, Accessed26 June 2019. https://intl.westlaw.com/
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Titcomb, James
    2016 “Google Translate Now Lets You Chat to Anyone in a Foreign Language.” Telegraph Online, 12May 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Toral, Antonio, Sheila Castilho, Ke Hu, and Andy Way
    2018 “Attaining the Unattainable? Reassessing Claims of Human Parity in Neural Machine Translation.” InProceedings of the Third Conference on Machine Translation (WMT), 113–123. Association for Computational Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Tsukayama, Hayley
    2015 “Google Translate Will Let You Read Signs, in Real Time, With Your Phone Camera.” WashingtonPost.com, 14January 2015.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Turner, Karen
    2016 “Google Translate Is About to Become Really Accurate.” Daily Herald, 4October 2016.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Vieira, Lucas N.
    2020 “Automation Anxiety and Translators.” Translation Studies13(1):1–21. doi:  10.1080/14781700.2018.1543613
    https://doi.org/10.1080/14781700.2018.1543613 [Google Scholar]
  60. Vieira, Lucas N., and Elisa Alonso
    2020 “Translating Perceptions and Managing Expectations: An Analysis of Management and Production Perspectives on Machine Translation.” Perspectives28(2): 163–184. doi:  10.1080/0907676X.2019.1646776
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0907676X.2019.1646776 [Google Scholar]
  61. Vieira, Lucas N., Elisa Alonso, and Lindsay Bywood
    2019 “Introduction: Post-editing in Practice – Process, Product and Networks.” JosTrans. The Journal of Specialised Translation31: 2–13.
    [Google Scholar]
  62. Williams, Lawrence
    2006 “Web-Based Machine Translation as A Tool for Promoting Electronic Literacy and Language Awareness.” Foreign Language Annals39 (4):565–578. 10.1111/j.1944‑9720.2006.tb02276.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1944-9720.2006.tb02276.x [Google Scholar]
  63. Wooten, Adam
    2010 “International Business: Machine Translation Can Bring Blunders, Successes in International Business.” Deseret Morning News, 19November 2010.
    [Google Scholar]
  64. 2011 “International Business: Google Translate Has Great Uses, Disastrous Misuses.” Deseret Morning News, 22April 2011.
    [Google Scholar]
  65. Wu, Yonghui, Mike Schuster, Zhifeng Chen, Quoc V. Le, Mohammad Norouzi, Wolfgang Macherey, Maxim Krikun, Yuan Cao, Qin Gao, Klaus Macherey, Jeff Klingner, Apurva Shah, Melvin Johnson, Xiaobing Liu, Łukasz Kaiser, Stephan Gouws, Yoshikiyo Kato, Taku Kudo, Hideto Kazawa, Keith Stevens, George Kurian, Nishant Patil, Wei Wang, Cliff Young, Jason Smith, Jason Riesa, Alex Rudnick, Oriol Vinyals, Greg Corrado, Macduff Hughes, and Jeffrey Dean
    2016 “Google’s Neural Machine Translation System: Bridging the Gap between Human and Machine Translation.” Accessed3 March 2020, arxiv.org/abs/1609.08144

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error