A Translation Service’s Little Touches Can Make a Big Difference
Evaluating a translation service requires differentiating between translation companies which will merely transcribe data verbatim into a new language and those who will make your product shine in a new context.
On the whole, translation services which rely more heavily on humans than automated techniques provide a better experience for you and your customers.
What’s The Advantage Of Professional Human Translations?
Professional human translation provides the flair that makes for a successful transition of your product to a new market.
Human translators are context sensitive, culturally aware, capable of translating idioms, and capable of producing prose that is grammatically and semantically correct. Nonetheless, many translation services utilize automated translating methods.
According to an article published in the Verge, although automated translation systems may be approaching the quality of human translation in some contexts, they never reach the same quality as a professional human translator.
This is especially true when translating between highly divergent languages like English to Chinese or vice versa. In these contexts, the advantages of professional human translators are significantly larger than elsewhere.
When translating to or from a challenging language, human translators are more likely to avoid errors that would strike a native speaker as being obvious in comparison to automated translations.
Furthermore, the majority of translation services still have a significant professional human translation capacity, meaning that it’s typically easier to find a translation service if you’re using human translation as a selection criterion.
Finally, if you have specific instructions for your translators, the only thing that will satisfy you is a translation company with human translators. Automated translators tend to be inflexible to customer demands.
What’s The Disadvantage Of Human Translations?
Despite these advantages, human translations aren’t perfect.
In a report published by Global Market Insights, data show that the machine translation market is growing and will surpass $1.5 billion by 2024. The majority of this growth will be in the defense, electronics, IT, and healthcare sectors.
This means that finding human translators in these fields may be more difficult moving forward. Likewise, it means that the accuracy of translations in these industries is continuing to improve, even if it will take a long time to surpass the accuracy of human translations.
Another issue with human translations is that the turnaround time may be longer. When human translators translate, they don’t merely transcribe the concepts from one language to another.
In fact, according to the Huffington Post, human translators must recreate the intent of the language. This makes them significantly slower in any given translation context.
It does, however, mean that translations performed by humans are more artful in terms of their language. This too can be a problem, however.
Humanized language means that translations can be extremely inconsistent between translators. One translator might come up with one sentence whereas another would come up with an entirely different sentence, portraying the same concept in a different light.
In contrast, machines offer a deterministic translation that is a bit less artful but is highly consistent, even when it’s incorrect.
How Can My Company Maximize The Benefits Of Human Translation?
Given these advantages and disadvantages of human translation and automated translating services, which is the best choice for your company?
How can your company get the most mileage out of the uniquely human flair that translation services provide without breaking the bank?
Answering these questions is a matter of understanding your needs. If you’re looking for a translation of highly technical material, you may be surprised to find that the importance of a human translator’s touch is more important than with material which is more subjective.
The reason behind this counterintuitive fact is that technical terms are often difficult to translate because they may not be literal.
In a highly subjective passage, like the transcript of an informal discussion between two people, an automated translation service can parse the meaning into a crude translation without much trouble. It may not appear graceful to read, but it would be possible to understand.
In contrast, something like a user manual does not have the same leeway. If an automated translation merely captured the gist of the contents of your user manual, you already know that your users would be clogging your customer service lines with complaints and questions.
When precision matters, a human translator’s touch is necessary to navigate the peculiarities of terms that don’t have literal translations into other languages.
Navigating the world of translation services doesn’t need to be difficult for your company, however. When your company is ready to purchase a translation service, check out The Global Marketer’s Checklist for Buying Translation Services.