Translators used the internet to prepare the Chinese version of the Prime Minister's Asian white paper.
Julia Gillard's office wants answers following suggestions that taxpayer-funded translators used the internet to prepare the Chinese version of the Prime Minister's Asian white paper.
One critic said it looked like the job was done using the Google Translate website.
Ms Gillard released the Australia in the Asian Century paper last month, urging schools and universities to embrace Asian language lessons.
But the Chinese (simplified) version of the paper contained broken sentences, grammar and syntax errors, inappropriate vocabulary and incomprehensible expressions, leading many to question how it was prepared. Some English words were translated without preserving the original meaning, regarded as an amateur mistake.
In the translation of the executive summary, the last line referring to a "highly skilled workforce" was translated into a word meaning "an army of labour".
A reference to "world-beating actions" became "only one in the world". And on page 18, a reference to pathways was translated to "leading peak".
One Chinese national studying in Australia, who asked not to be named, told The Sunday Telegraph: "It's kind of unbelievable. I was ready to cry when I read it. It just looked like they asked some random uni student to translate.
"It is reasonable to suspect that the person who translated this white paper relied heavily on Google Translate, not their Asian language skills."
"Upon a quick review of the Chinese version, it was found to be readable and understandable, although there was room for improvement, especially in the choice of word/terms," a spokesman from the Confucius Institute at the University of Western Australia said.
"In general, it is understandable. 'Simplified' refers to the version of Chinese characters versus traditional characters."
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said the translation was done by a service accredited by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.
"We have asked the translator to review the examples provided. If there are issues with any of the translations they will be fixed," the spokeswoman said.