Why not just use Google Translate?

This is a question we get a lot. Here we compare Google Translate with Care to Translate and their abilities when used in a healthcare setting.

In this post, we'll compare these two translation tools and evaluate which one is better suited for healthcare professionals and patients. We'll look at the translation process, translation accuracy, languages available, bug management, and safety from a privacy data perspective.

Some quick facts

1. Translation process

Google Translate is a pure machine translation tool. Its algorithm looks at the meaning of a sentence when translating. It tries to mimic how a human brain translates, by targeting the language’s grammar and syntax rules, and using appropriate grammar structures and sequences.

Care to Translate uses machine translation (similar to that of Google Translate)  in an initial step. After that a team of language experts ensures that each phrase is quality checked by a person that is fluent in the language and with medical expertise.

One of the benefits with Google Translate is that you can translate any phrase about anything and get a translation quickly, which is handy. However, the fact that Care to Translate has a rigorous translation process with quality approved phrases,  made by healthcare professionals, and has a focus on the healthcare industry, makes it a safer choice in this particular setting. It leaves significantly less room for incorrect translations, which is important when communicating with patients.

2. Accuracy

A 2019 study showed that  Google Translate has an accuracy of 80-90% for the larger languages (Spanish, Chinese, Korean), but significantly lower for smaller languages (for example 55% for Armenian). If the translations belong to a specific area (such as health care), the accuracy rate becomes even lower.

It can handle simple sentences and phrases, but it struggles with complex medical terms. For example, it might not recognize a word that is the name of a medication, or recognize that certain combinations of words are part of a well known expression in this particular context.

With Care to Translate, there is a human quality control  that guarantees that the phrase is contextually correct (healthcare settings) and culturally appropriate. The team also works closely with healthcare professionals to ensure that the translations meet their needs. Accuracy can never be 100%, such is the nature of translation work between different languages, but high-quality translations suited for healthcare situations is the whole business idea.

In healthcare, an accuracy of 55% or even 80% is not sufficient. Communication is key to build alliance, and trust with a patient and if a sentence doesn't make sense, patients will feel (even more) insecure in communication. Not to mention the risk of misdiagnosis. There is no way of checking that the output for a particular sentence even makes sense with Google Translate. That is why it is not recommended to use in the healthcare industry. Just think of the potential patient harm or medicinal malpractice. What Care to Translate does not have in terms of flexibility, it makes up in safety, for both patient and healthcare professionals.

3. Available languages

Google Translate is available in 133 languages, making it one of the most comprehensive translation tools available. The quality of translations vary depending on the language pair.

Care to Translate is available in 45 languages to date, and all 3200+ healthcare related phrases hold the same high quality in all language pairs.

It is impressive that so many languages are now available in Google Translate, but as a user it is difficult to know if the language you are using is one where the accuracy is lower. For example 24 new languages were added in 2022 and these models are still “learning the language”.  Not as many languages are available in Care to Translate, but it covers many of the most used languages, and keeps adding new languages on user and customer request. Most important of all, the quality of all languages added are high once it is launched in the app.

4. Bug management & improvements

Google Translate isn’t operated or updated by professional translators or linguists. Anyone can suggest a translation for a certain term or phrase. There has been incidents in the past when people have wrongly translated terms for fun. This can pose a risk for anyone using those phrases before the bug is reported or discovered.  

If a language bug is discovered or a suggestion for improvement have been submitted by a user, Care to Translate reviews this phrase, and take it through the same quality check as when translating it initially. All translations are reviewed continually, both in text and audio.

Both translation tools have edits made by humans, but in a very different way. The contributors editing in Google Translate does not necessarily have a good knowledge about the body, medicine, healthcare industry or even the language pair they are editing. So the terms in these domains does not have the same high quality as Care to Translate.

5. Privacy data

Google Translate is a cloud-based tool, and user data is stored on Google servers. The tool uses machine learning to improve translations, and user data is used to train the algorithm.

Care to Translate is designed to be secure and compliant with data protection regulations. Since the translations are not processed in real time, the users input does not need to be sent to any cloud based services. Also, Care to Translate don’t use the users input to train any algorithms, but rather trust a feedback system that helps us update translations that could be misunderstood, improving our library constantly.

It is particularly important for healthcare professionals who deal with sensitive patient data to comply with strict data protection regulations. In this regard Care to Translate is a safer option.


So, why not just use Google Translate? Although few, if any, healthcare organizations have embraced using Google Translate officially, it is often used in by doctors and nurses where no other options are available. The problem is that translations are not accurate enough, nor would it comply with IT security and personal data management policies for most healthcare organizations.

Care to Translate is a safer alternative for situations when healthcare staff have to communicate with patients and interpreters are not available. Both from a patient safety perspective, but also from an IT security perspective.

Book a demo and learn more about how your organization can use Care to Translate to cover your translation needs.