How did this happen?

Yesterday I used Google translate to translate some Polish text.

Today I got asked to apply for a temporary job as a Polish-English translator for some legal documents.

That can't be a coincidence, can it? But if it's not a coincidence, how the heck did this translation company find out I was doing this? Does Google sell this information? It seems like that would freak people out.

UPDATE: I understand targeted ads, and have received them often. But in those cases, I understood Google to be doing something like promising, "We'll put your ad for X in front of people who have searched for X." But that doesn't offer the specific names and email addresses of people who have searched for X. If people are searching for hemorrhoid cream, the advertiser gets ads in front of them, but without knowing specifically who those people are. What I got was a personal email.

9 comments:

  1. If you have to use google translate for Polish, wouldn't knowing that information make people *less* likely to offer you a job doing Polish-English translation?

    I vote coincidence.

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    1. No it wouldn't: even a professional translator could turn to Google for an obscure word, an idiomatic phrase, etc.

      The thing is, how in the world did this person get any notion at all that I knew even a word of Polish? I've never mentioned speaking any Polish on this blog, never put it on a resume, etc. etc.

      But I get an email addressed "Dear Gene" offering me a Polish translation job *12 hours* after the first time I use Google translate for Polish.

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    2. The two languages I know best after English are Spanish and Italian. And if you checked my use of Google translate, you would find it absolutely dominated by Spanish and Italian. And I bet the rest of my usage pretty much follows languages in order of my skill in them: French, then German, then Portuguese, then Latin, and finally a tiny smattering of Hindi, Bengali, Polish, Swedish, Dutch, Catalan, etc.

      So based on my experience, the better one knows a foreign language, the MORE likely one is to use Google translate for that language.

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    3. Fair enough. I just used google translate to translate some Polish text to English. If I get a translation job offer soon then we'll know.

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    4. Interestingly, today the same people mailed me about Hungarian translation. This might support your answer of coincidence: I can't recall if I've translated any Hungarian lately.

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    5. But it leaves open the question of what suddenly made them decide I am a translator?

      Maybe they can detect (somehow) that I use Google translate a lot. So a single translation might not give us an answer.

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  2. Maybe Google allows their costumers to set up this kind of direct marketing by providing some template, and when Google notices you match their specs, it sends the template with your data filled in.

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  3. That'd odd — I don't think Google has any email marketing program that uses their data.

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    1. I found it very odd as well. Still not sure what happened.

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