VMLY&R: The Royal Australian Navy’s Lost in Translation

Screen of Google translate with text "flying like a butterfly, bite like aa bee"

VMLY&R: The Royal Australian Navy’s Lost in Translation

Using AI to prove the navy needs more humans

The Australian Defence Force is one of the largest recruiters in Australia, with on average 8,000 people accepted into the force every year out of around 80,000 applicants. But some roles are harder to fill than others.

The navy needed to recruit cryptologic linguists, whose primary role is to intercept and translate languages. VMLY&R teamed up with the Royal Australian Navy to help recruit the best talent with the help of AI.

While AI plays a major role in the modern workforce, it doesn’t always get it right when it comes to translating languages. To prove this, the agency fed the world’s best known AI translating tool popular movie quotes and song lyrics to highlight the mistakes.

After a month, applications were up 1140% year-on-year and all roles had been filled. The Lost in Translation campaign also generated a 472% rise in traffic to the jobs page and created a stronger connection to a younger audience.