Rubbing in a new year

I saw this sentence in a student’s portfolio yesterday:

“I want to rub a year again.”

(Thanks to that student for letting me write about it! It’s an important learning moment to share with your peers.) I was pretty sure, from context, what that student wanted to say, but to clarify I asked. The student said that he had used Google Translate to translate 「年を越す」. This is what we discovered:

Oh dear. I thought for a minute that Google was translating 越す literally, but that would be a different kanji character: 漉す. So that’s a fail for Google Translate. But there is one more suggestion (“1  more translation”):

And when you try 年越し, Google is on it:

Translation software can be useful sometimes, but please, please, please, don’t rely on it alone. If you get a translation you’re not sure of, try Googling that phrase (using quotation marks):

All of the results have nothing to do with New Year or New Year’s Eve. So that tells you something’s wrong with the translation.

YouTube subtitles are not much better. Read about it on BBC: “YouTube: We know automatic subtitles aren’t good enough”


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