Whatever line of work you’re in, if you deal with international clients, want to study or work abroad, or expand into international markets, then you’ll need to get your legal documents, texts, marketing materials, or corporate communications translated.
With the explosion of free, downloadable mobile apps and online translation sites, you’ve probably used at least one of them to help translate a message on Facebook, or an email you want to send to a foreign friend. And you’ve probably had a bit of a giggle at some of the curious words that have been churned up.
While most computer assisted translation (CAT) tools are very useful to give you the general idea of a text (although in some cases, they can do just the opposite), if you’re trying to attract new clients, or you need a document translated for official use, then you’re going to need a human for your translations. Let me explain why:
- Translations Just Can’t be Done Word for Word
If you’ve ever studied a foreign language, then you’ll probably remember coming across words that are pronounced, or even spelled, exactly the same way, but that mean several different things. And even if you haven’t, then just think about the English language.
In English, joggers might go for a “run” in the park. CEOs “run” companies, and in our homes the water “runs” from a tap. So, if you’re trying to translate the word “run” in a text, then you’ll need the context of the sentence that it’s used in to be able to give an accurate translation. Only humans can do that.
- Computers Don’t Proofread Their Work
Proofreading is such an essential part of writing and translation that it’s a good idea to have a second person proofread your work. Large translation companies dealing with high volumes of documents may even use two different proofreaders to ensure quality.
If you work as a one-man-(or woman)-band, then at the very least, it’s recommended that you leave your work at the end of the day and come back to it the next day to check for errors with a fresh pair of eyes. This is because it’s very easy to miss mistakes when you’re working closely on a project and humans can spot these errors after the translation is finished.
- Your Company’s Reputation is Important
If you want to
create a good impression at home and abroad, then you’ll need to do more than translate your
corporate communications using
Google Translate. Not only
will your clients thank you for going
the extra mile,
but you’ll avoid
becoming the butt
of a joke, or worse, offending people unintentionally.
If you have a sizeable international market that spends a decent amount of money with your company then it’s vital that your website be translated and localised to increase consumer confidence and generate higher sales. A badly translated version of your website will do more harm than good.
- Humans Can Use Their Better Judgement
It’s undeniable that computers and smartphones have changed our lives forever. But as intelligent as they may be, they will never replace or make up for the intricacies of the human brain.
While some CAT tools allow the user to create translationmemoriesfor repeat clients and ongoing projects, there is still a lot more room for error, as computers can’t make judgement calls like humans can.
A human translator will look at your document, understand something that is badly written, poorly recorded or has additional notes or requests and figure out what has to be written. You won’t get a document back with mistakes or blank parts.
- Humans Are Special
Most translators aren’t merelycultural loving people with a don for languages (although many of them are). Most of us also specialise in certain fields, which means that if you need someone who knows about law, biotech, engineering, or academia, you can find the right person for the job, who understands your industry inside and out.
So make sure that you don’t cut any corners when it comes to your translations and get them done by real people instead of robots.