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Why you can’t depend on Machine Translation for Multilingual Customer Support - Livesalesman - Blog

Why you can’t depend on Machine Translation for Multilingual Customer Support

Machine translation is touted to be the next big thing. By automating language translation, it promises to help you save time, money, and effort involved in understanding and replying to native customers from different countries. So, if you’re a business running a multilingual call centre, you’d be crazy to not invest in it, right?

Before getting carried away by the hype, let’s take a step back and really deep dive into MT. Is it flawless? No. Does it provide accurate context-rich translations? No. MT comes with its own limitations; limitations that surprisingly overcomplicate multi-lingual customer support.

Let’s dig in!

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1. It focuses too much on word-to-word translation

Machine Translation focuses primarily on word-to-word translations rather than analysing the essence and context behind a sentence, first and foremost, before translating it.

This problem mainly arises because foreign words and phrases have multiple meanings depending on the context and region where it is used. For instance, in Spanish-speaking countries, strawberry translates to fresa. When used in Mexico, however, fresa describes a young person that is acting preppy and is used in a negative way. Adding to this confusion is the fact that when a word has several meanings, MT usually picks up the most common and simplest choice, which might be starkly different from what the person wanted to convey.

MT’s word-to-word translation technique can lead to sentences sounding offensive, off-context, and at times, legally inaccurate. And in the business of multilingual customer support, this comes with severe consequences as customers expect you to get right to the bottom of a problem, and resolve it on time. One mistranslated sentence would mean that your team’s solution in fixing an issue wouldn’t be aligned with what the customer wants.

2. Translating between completely different languages isn’t easy

You wouldn’t have to fret much if you’re using MT to translate between two similar languages, say Spanish and Italian. On the other hand, if you’re translating between two languages that are completely different in terms of structure, grammar rules, etc. (say, between English and Japanese), MT isn’t going to provide accurate results.

Translating between English and Japanese is an ordeal. That is because Japanese is a context-heavy language. There is a lot of information that may otherwise be explicitly expressed in other languages that would be omitted in Japanese.

Another factor is that Japanese nouns don’t distinguish between singular and plural. Another language that is tough to translate is Arabic, owing to its vast vocabulary, and the presence of multiple synonyms of words in Arabic. And since it is written from right to left, this adds more complexity to the equation. If your business has a presence in different countries where the language rules vary starkly, opting for a Multilingual Call Centre with well-trained agents is the best way to handle customer requests.

3. Lack of Human Touch and Personalization

” 75% of customers will want to shop with businesses that offer personalized experiences by 2020. ” - Salesforce

The need to humanized and personalized multilingual customer support is only increasing. While the use of technology has become omnipresent, humans still form the heart of a brand. Customers want to interact with other people on the other side. With MT, you easily can make out if the response was translated, written, and translated back to the original language by a human or a bot. There’s warmth, empathy and care when humans converse as opposed to vanilla facts that machine translations produce. Humans hold the key, always!

Since MT can’t understand cultural contexts, it’s hard to personalize foreign language interactions.
Investing in a multilingual call centre team is the way to go about it. Specially trained service reps ensure that every customer conversation is personalized, humanized,

4. Technology that leads to more manual work

Here’s the irony in Machine Translation. Its purpose is to automate language translation and completely eschew manual translators from the process. However, due to the inaccuracies and mistranslations, you really need humans to work on these translations.

MT’s got one job. To translate. It can’t identify a typo or an error that happened during translation. Which means, despite being heavily dependent on technology, you still need to rely on humans, still pay their wages, and still invest time and effort to manage these teams that review translations.

We’re not saying that technology is a bane altogether. But in a function as crucial as multilingual customer support, leaving it all to a machine is quite careless. A multilingual call centre with specialized agents can not only get the job done for you, but do it in an effective, personalized, and truly seamless manner.

At LiveSalesman, we offer Multilingual call centre support in over 30 European and Asian languages. Our Multilingual customer support includes Spanish Call Centre Services, French Call Centre Services, Chinese Call centre services, Arabic Call Centre services and Italian Call Centre services amongst many others.


Publish Date: March 18, 2019

2022 Buyers Guide Help Desk Software

eGain Corporation

eGain CallTrack™
eGain CallTrack™ is a dynamic call tracking and case management solution that helps companies provide quick, high-quality, and cost-efficient resolution of customer issues across traditional and emerging interaction channels. It is one of the many innovative customer interaction products in eGain Solve™ suite, the unified customer engagement and knowledge management software suite, which helps businesses transform their traditional call centers into omnichannel customer engagement hubs. eGain CallTrack will enable you to track, manage and resolve cases and maintain service level agreements (SLA), across channels.


Happitu is your customer support team’s personal coach. It guides your team through every interaction with custom workflows, responsive scripting, and dynamic help topics.

Documentation in Happitu is automated, detailed, and consistent. Go beyond handle times and service levels with the rich insights of Happitu – from granular interaction data to aggregate data and trends – you get the complete CX journey!

We intentionally built the Happitu Workflow Designer with your customer support team in mind. Using our intuitive tools that provide quick and safe iteration, you eliminate the need to involve IT or Development. Yes, you will no longer have to dread submitting a change request to Devin from IT!

Try it free for 45 days!


Knowmax is an omnichannel knowledge management platform. Our mission is to transform contact centers into resolution centers and drive customer self service.
The platform is an industry-agnostic enterprise-grade knowledge platform with components helping in easy findability of actionable information at the right time across the desired touchpoint.


LiveAgent Help Desk
LiveAgent is a cloud-based Help Desk Software with over 195+ compatible integrations. Streamline all customer communication channels and manage them from a single shared company inbox. Enjoy social media integration, unlimited ticket history, call recordings, hybrid ticket streams, and more. Companies like BMW, Yamaha, Huawei, Orange, or Forbesfone use LiveAgent to deliver customer wow to 150M end-users worldwide.

Nuxiba Technologies

Nuxiba's Help Desk Software is ideal for delivering top-level contact help desk services. It not only tailors to your existing technology resources but also allows you to set staff priorities that forward clients to the most knowledgeable agents.

Give personalized assistance, and analyze performance with our real-time monitoring, recording, and reports. Integrate Salesforce or VTiger CRM systems, be TCPA compliant, protect your cardholder's data during calls, and more!

Request a quote or demo today and start the journey to increase your first-contact resolution percentages in less than three months!


OneDesk's software combines Helpdesk & Project Management into one application. No need to purchase, integrate and switch between applications. Your team can support your customers and work on projects in one place. Aimed at SMBs as well as departments at large enterprises, OneDesk is frequently used by project managers, customer service, IT, professional services and more. This easy-to-use, feature-rich, and highly configurable software can manage both ticket & task workflows.

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

ActivDesk Help Desk Software
ActivDesk Help Desk Software is an intelligent ticketing software for multi- channel customer interaction & engagement. It streamlines the entire ticket management process. With its SLA & escalation management, it enables your help desk to deliver enriching customer experience.

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