Why Using Human Translation Services
The term human translations highlight the fact that our translations are done by human beings instead of computers (a.k.a. machine translation).
As technology evolves, more of the translation process is being delegated to software and computers. We agree that technology plays an important role in translation services. However, technology should be used as support to the human translation craft. While free google translation may help you understand the main ideas contained in a piece of content written in another language, human translation is still a must when you need your content translated for your business or any other purpose requiring accuracy.
Humans in Charge of Context and Accuracy
Only humans can precisely decide what the right context for a text is. Words change meaning depending on the context, and the choice of a translation will rely heavily on the context. Keeping humans in charge of the human translations' overall management will ensure the translated document mirrors the original document.
Slang, idiomatic expressions, localism, and technical domains are just a few other challenges to language translation automation. Language has some nuances that computers and artificial intelligence won't be able to handle any time soon.
Accuracy in Translation
There isn't a single translation for a specific word. The best choice of which term will better convey the original meaning intended by the author will require a human being to make such a decision. Interesting to note that even professional translators will have different choices for terms and style. Accuracy is not just technical. It is also an art that cannot be learned without decades of work behind a monitor. Translations to be used in court, business presentations, or any application requiring accuracy should be restricted to human translators to decades, if not centuries, to come.
Machines in Charge of Support and Repetition
Some activities during the translation process will be better accomplished by software instead of a human translator. Some of these translations support activities:
- retrieving a glossary during the translation process
- checking for spelling
- saving the translated document along the way
- providing advanced editing tools
One of the most well-known advantages of using translation software is being able to leverage on repetition. It is quite common for text segments to be repeated within a document or even a set of separate documents. Translation software can keep a 'translation memory' of such repetitions and helping the translator by 'pre-translating' something he already translated in the past.
The main advantages coming from this 'translation memory':
- no need to translate the same thing multiple times
- consistency since a single translation will be provided for the same term
- savings in translation time and cost
- possibility of multiple human translators working on the same project while keeping consistency in terms of terminology choice
- development of a translation asset that can be kept over time independently of the human translators who have worked previously on the translation projects
Frequent Questions About Human Translations
1. Are there pure human translations being provided out there?
It is very rare to find a translator who doesn't use some technology when translating documents. Because of the competition in the translation services industry, we would say only amateur translators would work without some level of translation software to help them along the way.
2. What translation software do human translators use during their work?
The main tools used by translators in the human translation are:
- CAT-Tools: these 'computer-assisted translation tools' focus on keeping a translation memory with the work being done by the translators for future use
- Text Editors: usually already built-in the CAT-Tools
- Electronic glossaries: so they can check the best terms for terminology or keep their work consistent with what was done previously
3. Will human translators become unnecessary in the future?
Not in our lifetime. We have heard many times that machine translation and would soon make human translators disposable. This prediction has not nearly materialized, and we don't believe it will any time soon.
Intelligent communication remains pretty unreachable to computers, even the most powerful ones reserved only to large corporations and universities.
CAT-Tools (computer-assisted translation tools) have been evolving over time and becoming more and more necessary for the human translation craft. However, they are still a support-tool instead of a main component during the human translation process.
4. Do I really need a human translation? How can I tell?
Ask yourself if you can afford inaccuracies in your translation. Let's say you just want to read a sales letter from a company abroad. In this case, a Google machine translation could give you a very good idea of the letter's original meaning. And, if you need a better understanding of some passage's in particular, you can always hire a human translator to handle that specific passage. This would save you money since you wouldn't need to translate the whole document.
On the other hand, if you are providing documents for immigration purposes or if you need your company brochures translated, you wouldn't take the chance of providing less than accurate documents, right? It is all about the accuracy tolerance you are willing to assume. Less than perfect translations are acceptable for many applications, while others will absolutely require accurate translations prepared by seasoned human translators.
10 Facts Every Translation Buyer Should Know
Professional human translation services are expensive. Make the most of your budget by reading our quick-guide on translation services rates and 10 facts every translation buyer should know.