Did you know that computer scientists started trying to invent a reliable software translation solution in the 1950’s? It’s true. When it comes to translation services, the bickering between man and machine has gone on for decades.
Many think that the machines have already won. Human translators are still around, but why would anyone go looking for one when translation could be just a click away? Well, while translation software may seem like a quick and convenient way to get your translations taken care of, humans still have the upper hand here. These three points should help you decide if you’re considering software translation.
1. Never Forget to Read the Fine Print.
If you were a lawyer, would you post a status on Facebook about your client’s case? Hopefully, you wouldn’t. What about Google Translate? Many serious professionals make the mistake of trusting online translation tools with critical and confidential text. After all, who reads the terms and conditions anyway?
Well, if you’re uploading confidential documents that you want to remain absolutely private and secure, you probably should be. The lack of confidentiality you are guaranteed is actually explicit within the text of Google Translate’s Terms of Service. It’s spelled out clearly that when you give them text to translate, including those private HR documents, financial reports, or other legally sensitive materials, they have complete freedom to do whatever they want with it. Once you’ve typed sensitive information into the translation text box, your privacy and, potentially, your business’s reputation is lost.
2. Artificial Intelligence Does Not Equal Emotional Intelligence.
Even if you’re not too worried about the security of your information, you have to wonder if translation software can even provide you with what you need. The simple fact is that machines cannot understand language the way that humans do. This stands in the way of full and accurate translations.
Current translation software programs work by recognizing words and matching these to the words that they commonly correspond to. However, the true power of language is in the meaning that words convey, not only in the words themselves. The human mind has a very complex way of processing information. When it comes to translation, a human doesn’t simply match words between languages but works to understand the true meaning, including the emotion behind the words, and bring that over into the other language.
As far as the technology has come, even the best software can’t make an algorithm that captures this emotional understanding. A machine translator may choose the most likely translation, but it won’t be the most meaningful one. For a translation as vibrant as the original, you need a human translator who understands the culture and can empathize with the creator of the text as well as its audience. Without this empathy, a machine will never measure up.
3. Machines are Faster, but the Price is Accuracy.
The speed of these programs, along with their low cost, is why many turn to them in the first place. There’s no doubt about it. Software produces work much quicker than a human possibly could. However, this by no means makes it better. We all remember how the tortoise won the race against the hare by taking it slow and steady.
While software translation may seem like an easy shortcut, the accuracy is where it will cost you. Sure, it’s fine in a pinch when you are traveling in a foreign country and need to know how to thank the waiter. But for professional purposes requiring technical translations, even small translation errors cannot be tolerated.
Google Translate and similar services are riddled with typos, incorrect words, and grammar errors so much that the programs may often work better as a good laugh than as a serious tool. It’s just not so funny for professionals whose company image has suffered from relying on such software. The errors of a quick fix translation software do not belong on important legal documents, the company website, or anywhere else many native speakers will encounter your company. Your fellow colleagues in your professional field certainly will not appreciate the errors of a software-provided translation.
Contact Our Expert Translators Today!
Software translations can be a great tool when you need a quick language solution or a few words in a different language. However, when it comes to meaningful language solutions, you need a human translator who knows the true value of speech. Our technical translators can give you the kind of accurate and meaningful translation you need. Give us a call or get in touch online. We look forward to speaking with you!