Machine translation has become a buzzword in the translation industry. In fact, AI-assisted features which include machine translators have become one of the latest SaaS trends. The popularity of machine translation is because business people feel it is cost efficient, easier, and faster. Therefore, they wish to eliminate human translation and translate documents and emails by using apps like Google Translate. However, you still the need the expertise of native speakers and human translators to create professional documents in any language. This article gives you the reasons why human translation continues to play an important role today.
Importance of Human Translation
During translation, you convert the language of the source document to the language of the readers. It is complex in nature as you need to consider a lot of factors for accurate translation. For instance, your translated text should sound fluent and natural to native speakers of the language. It may be important that readers should not get an inkling that the text was originally created in another language and then translated. Likewise, it is important to convey the actual meaning clearly and accurately. To get these results, translators take into account a lot elements such as familiar language, specific expressions, slang, contextual and cultural references, and the tone and style of the written content.
How Machine Translation Works
You may think that machine translation can save you time and money, but it is risky to depend on them. This is because of the way they work. These translators analyze each term and phrase structure and break it into easily translatable elements. They then recompose and translate the term with a similar structure in the new language. The reason the accuracy and quality of machine translation is lower is because each language has a different structure. But this factor cannot be recognized by machine translation apps... yet.
In many cases, machine translation can result in a verbatim and literal translation which is terrible to read. The translation may not read natural, contain plenty of grammatical errors, be poor in structure, and not convey the actual meaning. Another factor to consider is that many words have multiple meanings that depend on the situation and context. For these reasons, human analysis is essential. It is important to understand the source content perfectly, but this capability is not present in machine translators.
Machine Translation can Mar Your Business Reputation
Your clients expect you to be equally professional in your outlook and work. Though media reports suggest that Google Translate is fast replacing human translators, this is not quite the truth. Google Translate is an improved service now, but it still cannot come to terms with vocabulary and sentence structure.
Therefore, accurate translations have become essential otherwise you could end up harming your organization’s reputation and the word will spread on social media. If you use only automated translations, there is a high risk of offending clients and partners, and creating an awful impression. Translation errors can cost you money as indicated in the case of a person who received a wrong medical diagnosis in Florida which ended in a lawsuit costing $71 million.
Avoid Cultural Misunderstandings
English speakers who do not have any other language skills are often unaware as to how to use English in an international scenario. The errors created by these translators can cost firms heavily in terms of money as well as bad reputation.
Google Translate can get confused about accuracy, tone, style, and words that have multiple meanings. English is not spoken in many parts of the world so it is important to use the local language to do international business. Reports reveal that 1.5 billion people speak some English worldwide, out of which only 375 million are native users.
Accuracy is most important in translation and communication. If you try to cut corners by using machine translation, you could end up miscommunicating the meaning of your messages to your international clients.
Apps Cannot Replace Human Translators
Multilingual and experienced human translators can convey hidden meanings as well as complex journalistic and literary connotations. Apps cannot do these tasks as of now. To convey messages accurately, you need to use human translation.
In fact, apps cannot be trusted to translate even single words as the English language has many nuances that cannot be detected by a computer. The English vocabulary is complex and a single word can be used in multiple ways which machines are not familiar with. Studies show that translation software apps often deliver unreliable, erroneous, and inaccurate results as they have trouble in deciphering semantics and lexicon. Plus, they find it difficult to translate large chunks of text.
Why Human Translators are Better
Human translators are better than machine translators because they are native speakers of the language and well-versed in its grammar, slang, expressions, subtleties, specificities, etc. This enables them to translate the tone and meaning of the source content and provide an appropriate and accurate translation. Plus, many human translators also have a degree in translation as well as professional background which helps them to focus on a specific field of expertise. This knowledge helps to improve the translation quality while on the other hand machine translators lack the ability to accurately translate technical terms. Another drawback is machines simply leave a complex technical term as it is if they cannot find a suitable term for it.
Machine translation is okay if the project is small and simple and there is no need for a perfectly accurate translation. But if the project is crucial and targeted at an international audience, human translation is your best bet for high-quality and reliable work so that your message can be easily understood by the target audience.
Alex Hillsberg is Chief editor of the review team at FinancesOnline and is an expert in the area of B2B and SaaS related products. He has worked for several B2B startups in the past and gathered a lot of first hand knowledge about the industry during that time.