You have paper documents and files in your computer of business documents along with a website that all need professional translation. Bring on machine translation! – Right? Machine translation has evolved so rapidly that many people cannot help but ponder the true significance of the role of a professional human translator. Additionally, the presence of individuals who are proficient in languages other than English has brought about a preference for using these individuals for translation work, over professional translation services.
These developments come naturally as a result of our desire for a fair balance of speedy and budget-friendly translation services. While machine translation has indeed become more ‘intelligent’, and multiple language speakers are helpful in providing a rough meaning of some types of content- there are limits to what both options provide.
With this in mind, we present to you – and bust!- three of the most common myths people have relating to document translations.
This seems to be one of the most popular go-to solutions for every time a translation is needed. If you need Spanish to English translation, you might just happen to have a Spanish speaking colleague or friend who could be good candidates. But the truth is being bilingual does not guarantee that someone has the skills to take the ideas expressed in a piece of content and convey those ideas in a second language in a way that is faithful to the original message, grammatically and syntactically correct. These critical skills are what separate the professional translator, a linguist, from a bilingual person.
Most professional translators have developed their skills through education and training in not only the languages they translate for but also a specialty field. Commonly requested translation services including legal translation, medical translation, and marketing translation, each requires a specific skill set to guarantee a quality translation that suits the needs of the client. Legal translation, for instance, requires the expertise of a legal translator who has in-depth knowledge of legal systems of different regions. On the other hand, marketing and advertising translation demand the skills of a translator who can flawlessly adapt the marketing content to both the target language and cultural elements specific to the target audience. Both sets of skills are different, and can only be acquired through years of education and professional training.
The main selling point of machine translation is that it produces consistent content. Machine translated content is a good solution for companies that require a large volume translated quickly at a budget-friendly price. When programmed properly with specialized terminology from a specific industry, machines work effectively for high volume document translation work for content that is meant to be used internally.
What machine translation does not offer is the ability to infuse the right tone, style, and cultural context – all three elements are necessary to render an accurate and meaningful translation. It’s impossible to program a machine to recognize that some words carry vastly different meanings in different cultures. Nor can a machine be programmed to deliver marketing translation of content that carries a specific tone that is emotionally engaging. Without the review and updates of a human translator, called post editing, a machine cannot produce content that is ready to be published and shared with the target audience. For as much as machine translation has evolved, its quality is still skewed towards literal translation. The translated content of an automatic translation should always be reviewed to see if it is of acceptable quality for its intended use.
A common ‘initial’ misconception among clients is that the act of submitting a document for translation is all that’s required on their part for a well-translated document to be produced in return.
The first step in the document translation process is finding the right translator for the job, and that in itself is not easy. Consider what we’ve learned in the first two myths, a professional translator is much more than simply a bilingual person- the latter of which can be found pretty easily. The best place to find the most qualified translator for your needs is through a professional translation company, where only the most skilled translators in specific areas of expertise are hired, vetted and guided.
When requesting document translation services, you’ll probably be asked questions that you’d never considered before. For instance, you might already have a good idea of who your audience is but you may be asked to be even more specific in describing the target audience. You might find yourself answering questions such as –
When your translated documents are meant for global audiences or for critical processes like responding to a proposal, the best way to ensure that they are well received is through a professional translation service. While there are other instances in which a machine translation can offer the type of translation you need, a machine cannot understand many of the complexities that a professional human translator would. And a bilingual person might be proficient in the languages you need but lack the skills and training of professional translators who are capable of delivering well formatted, accurate and properly localized content.
As a professional translation company, JR Language hires only professional, skilled and experienced translators to make sure your translated content resonates with your target markets. Your content and your translated content represent your company!