Snapdeal Logo

Online marketplace Snapdeal.com has introduced an Indic language interface to its website, allowing consumers to browse through the site in Hindi and Tamil.

It plans to add Kannada, Telugu, Bengali and Marathi over the next three months and also roll out this Indic interface to its mobile site and mobile apps in the next four months, as indicated by The Economic Times report.

Consumers can click on the ‘Choose language’ option to choose either Hindi or Tamil, following which the site content is automatically translated to the respective language. This includes name & description in product pages and site navigation options among others. When we checked, we noticed that the product categories continues to remain in English language.

Machine Translation Gone Wrong

The idea here seems to be reaching out to the non-English audience from smaller cities & towns which the company says contributes to 50% of its overall sales. While the idea is good, the execution seems to have gone wrong, since Snapdeal has chosen machine translation over human translation for this initiative. Snapdeal VP-Product Management Ankit Khanna told ET they chose machine translation over manual translation since they upload over hundreds of products and associated content online on a daily basis.

However, this approach has led to very funny translations of products on the site. For instance – the product description of one of the items reads “Skin in need of protection from wind burn and environmental factors.” which gets translated to “पवन जला और पर्यावरणीय कारकों से सुरक्षा की जरूरत में त्वचा।” which doesn’t really make sense and is quite hilarious in fact to read.

Another similar example is a product called “Victoria Secret Love My Body Soft Body Cream Jasmine and Water Lily” which gets translated to “विक्टोरिया सीक्रेट प्यार मेरा शरीर नरम शरीर और चमेली क्रीम पानी के लिली”. This essentially makes it difficult for a Hindi speaking consumer reading the product description, which defeats the purpose of providing an Indic interface to consumers.