It’s amazing, isn’t it? Google Translate can be installed onto your browser and with the push of a button, any website, document, anything can be translated. But not very well…
The truth is that human language, even written language, is filled with nuances and details that a machine is not likely to catch. These are the times that you need a human translator.
Machine Translations: Strengths, Weaknesses, And Uses
The use of computers to translate documents and webpages started very early in the life of these amazing machines. Today, it has evolved into a massive business and provides free and paid translations billions of times each day.
When you click on a website, your browser will often translate it automatically. This power is amazing and allows us to read and see what people all over the world are seeing every day.
Machine translations, even for a professional translation company, can be a starting point. It’s the place where the translator can begin the process of looking at what you’re trying to say and help you say it.
As mentioned above, though, it has it’s weaknesses. While it might be fine for reading the day’s news in Russia or China or South Africa, it shouldn’t be trusted with business contracts, marketing materials, and other places where lack of precision can cost you a lot of money.
Human Translation: Strengths, Weaknesses, And Uses
Human translation is done by someone taking a source material and converting it to a new language. This is usually done by a professional translator who has been trained and practiced in doing language to language translations well and efficiently.
The biggest weakness is that most of us can’t afford to have a translator on call 24 hours a day. If you are a world leader and someone from another country calls, there will often be a translator in between. Those people and that service are available all the time. For the rest of us, we need to plan ahead a bit.
A human translator can take a document, a recorded speech, or even a live event and translate it well. They are able to see beyond the strict meaning of words to introduce nuances and cultural differences that a machine is hard pressed to understand.
Why Not Both?
At AfroLingo, we don’t see machine translation as another example of machines taking the place of humans. We see these wonderful tools for what they are: tools to make our work easier and maybe even a bit better. Nonetheless, no piece of translated work leaves our offices without being reviewed for accuracy by a trained translator and a project manager. No professional translation company should allow machine translation be all they do either.
Machines and humans can work to bridge language barriers and open up the world to everyone, together.