translation services expertise
Subject Matter Expertise in Translation Services
November 12, 2021

What type of Translation Services does for your project need?

Professional Translation Services

Last updated on November 22nd, 2021 at 05:08 pm

Translation Serivce

Translation services are a creative art that requires knowledge. More than simply switching out words in one language for another, translating texts requires a deep knowledge of both the source language and culture, as well as the target language and culture.  Additionally, translators need to have subject matter expertise. Recently we wrote a blog post about the importance of subject matter expertise.

When it comes to translating content for business in a globalized world, you want an expert on your team. But sometimes, you just need a few lines translated, and you may wonder if there’s a faster option.

The answer is yes (but you may get what you pay for.) In total, there are three types or options of translation services you could use for your documents. In this blog, we’ll break down what these services entail and situations that call for each of them.

Types of Translation Services that you can use

  • Machine translation (MT)
  • Human translation (HT)
  • Post-edited machine translation (PEMT)
  • Hybrid Human Translation and Machine Translation

Machine Translation Services

Machine translation, often shortened as MT, uses software to translate text without human involvement. It is also automatic translation and raw machine translation.

The main benefit of MT is the speed at which you can get your text translated. This is often at a lower price than hiring translation agency or even a freelancer to translate. But these savings come at a cost because machine translations are dramatically less accurate than human translations.

Machine translation lacks the nuances of human conversation and translates text based on its most probable meaning, not its contextual meaning. MT runs into issues when encountering words with multiple definitions and different connotations. This can lead to gaps in translation where the cultural or conversational context is lost, changing the meaning of the piece or losing the point entirely.

There are two types of MT; generic and customizable or Adaptive MT. Generic MT refers to free services like Google Translate, which anyone in the world can access and use. Customized machine translations are responsive paid programs, specialized software, that can be trained in specific industries’ content and/or languages to improve the accuracy of translation output.

Machine Translation is based on probability, the result will be the most used translation. So, if you do not speak both languages it will be impossible to know if the given translation is right.

When Machine Translation is Best

Machine translations can be quite valuable in the right situation. Generic MT is a lifesaver for everyday people communicating across language barriers. If you need to ask a question, place an order, trying to understand a short email or communicate quickly in another language, generic machine translations will be quick and accurate enough. Best to get the idea or try to pass an idea.

Customized machine translations work well for projects with large content in which there is no time for human translation and the quality is secondary to the availability of the information to make a decision or find more information within the text. Using automatic translation lifts the burden of translation and reduces time from completion and allow translators to focus on proofing the texts to ensure accuracy. This is called post-editing machine translation, which we get into below.

When Not to Use Machine Translation

For companies operating on a national or multi-national level, the inaccurate of machine translations can have lasting ramifications. Documents containing important information, such as legal, medical, or financial information, should never be left entirely to machine translation. Additionally, MT cannot understand and translate cultural contexts, leading to HR issues if sensitive information is improperly translated.

Even with the best of systems, machine translations should be proofed by a professional translator to ensure the message is the same, language accuracy, and include cultural context.

Human Translation Services

Human translation, abbreviated to HT, is when a person, professional translator, translates text based on their knowledge of multiple languages. This is the oldest form of translation services, and it remains the most widely used form of translation today.

HT services are hired in a few different ways:

  • Professional translation agencies
    • Broad know-how, State of the art technology, project management software, project managers, multilingual designer, localization engineers and other services offerings beside translation services are the benefits of a professional translation company. They also rely on a team of selected experts with industry-specific knowledge to provide their clients with high-quality, accurate texts. A large, knowledgeable team gives translation agencies the capacity to handle large projects and fast turnaround times.
  • Freelance translators
    • Freelance translators work outside of a traditional agency or digital platform to provide 1:1 translation service. Freelance translators work well for small projects, but they have a limited capacity for large projects or projects that require multiple languages.
  • Crowd platforms
    • Crowd platforms are a new form of translation service, harnessing the power of collective intelligence and the reach of the internet. These can be a cost-saving option, but using a digital platform removes the human aspect of customer service.

When Human Translation is Best

Using HT services ensures complete accuracy for your translated documents because you’re working with a trained and vetted professional with a deep linguistic competency and often years of experience.

Accuracy is paramount in any industry when working with a multilingual team or client base, and no computer in the world can beat humans at understanding nuances, idioms, and conversational context. 

Additionally, professional translation teams can offer services that MT cannot, including International SEO-optimization for digital pieces. Machine translated texts can look like spam to search engines, with unnatural phrasing, grammatical errors, and awkward sentence structure. Machine translations require a professional touch to be optimized for search engines.

We have seen tags on clothing that were done with MT and do not make sense. We have seen large signs that do not make sense since they were done with MT and was not reviewed by a native speaker.

Post Edited Machine Translation

Post Edited Machine Translation (PEMT) is a service used to bridge the gap between the speed of machine translation and the accuracy of human translations. Professional translators take the results from MT to proofread the text, editing and improving it as needed.

This step is crucial to create a fluid final piece in the target language. Machine translations often produces sentences without the right other, gender or tense, missing critical nuances and phrasing that make a piece of text not read naturally. As machine translation has no analytical capabilities, the skill of the translator is of the utmost importance, so the final translated piece has the quality for useful content.

Not all the output from machine translation can be post edited, it is important to evaluate the quality of the output to be sure a content is useful after machine translation, and it is feasible for Postediting.

Another important note to add is that the posteditor, is a professional translator, trained and experienced in postediting tasks to deal with content from machine translation.

Hybrid Human Translation and Machine Translation Approach

Many translation projects can benefit from a hybrid approach, where the most sensitive content or the most visited content is translated by a team of human translations and supporting content or less visited content is done with MT.

The use of a hybrid approach HT & MT helps control the cost and time limitations in a translation project.

Example:

  1. A website translation project where all the main pages are done by human translators and pages after the 3rd level of navigation are done with MT to control costs.
  2. A Legal case, where MT is used during Discovery to identify the crucial documents and after selecting the important pieces, those are translated by human translators, or they are postedited if the MT quality allows. Using a hybrid approach will reduce cost and support a faster progress of the legal translation.

Fast, Professional & Accurate Human Translation

Each form of translation service has a use and its benefits, but when it comes to translation documents for business, you don’t want to take a chance on the potential inaccuracies of machine translations. So, hire a translation company to assist you in navigating the complexity of translation projects.  Leave the Google Translation for traveling and turn to our team of Language experts at JR Language to get your project done with the best approach, price, and resources according to your needs and goals.

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela. Jackie has a BS in computer engineering; As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.