Automated translation vs human translation: why does your business need a translation agency?

In such a globalised world, new technologies can be a threat to standards and even to jobs. Human translation is no exception to this problem, given that automated translation (also referred to as machine translation) is already a reality. However, the issue is not necessarily always black and white, which is why we should ask ourselves “What does my business need?”

In this era of globalisation, translation has become a necessity, more so than ever in history: international business communications, websites, contracts, video transcripts, technical documents, and instruction manuals, are just a few of the texts you might need to translate.

In day to day business, numerous different situations may arise in which you require a translation. These situations might be more or less urgent depending on various factors. In this context, you must know how to differentiate between situations where you merely want to overcome a language barrier using machine translation and those times when you will certainly require human translation through a translation agency with native professionals. If the difference between one scenario and the other is not entirely clear, don't worry, we’ll help you understand which is which.

Automated translation, technology within an arm's reach

Automated translation is an area of computational linguistics dedicated to translating texts from one language to another using computer programs. Since its creation more than 60 years ago we should mention that it has undergone continuous evolution up to the present. We now have automatic translators that are more powerful than at any other time in history, based on a combination of linguistic rules, corpus linguistics and context. However, they continue to be imperfect and are often full of errors.

A number of well-known free translators, such as Google Translate, have emerged among these technological tools, and they are bolstered by businesses’ desire to expand internationally, especially within the ecommerce sector. 

Undoubtedly, there will be times when you receive texts in other languages in your daily business routine, especially if you work with international clients or have offices located elsewhere in the world. You may get emails in another language or simply need to know the meaning of a specific word that comes up, whatever the context may be. It is in these situations when that automatic translators may be of use. 

Automatic translation provides the benefit of being instantaneous. In this regard, it is perfectly understandable that you would use this kind of resource when you need to understand a text in another language soon as possible, such as when you receive queries from overseas clients. Nobody would blame you for that! 

Human translation, much more than a simple translation

As much as automatic translators may be useful when you need a fast solution, there is nothing like a human translation. If you were to use technology for everything you might end up harming the good reputation of your business, among other undesired consequences. 

Automatic translators, as powerful as they are, continue to be machines that respond to data and automated processes. As such, they never take into account factors as important as the aim of the text, the culture of the recipient, literary resources, the author playing on words or subliminal messages in publicity texts. 

Despite the fact that a text translated via machine translation might be comprehensible, your clients, collaborators or possible providers are very likely to notice that it does not sound not natural, which undermines their confidence in your business. 

As has been demonstrated on many occasions, when it comes to your brand’s communications, a perfect understanding of the original text and an expert command of the language it is being translated into are both vital to the success of a business. Human translation, done by professional native translators, takes cultural factors into account in the process, providing knowledge and research skills that a machine simply cannot match up to. 

So, what does your business need?

Essentially, if you need a high-quality translation you should never rely on machine translation. The only time you should make use of this kind of tool is when you need an instant solution to a communication problem. For everything else, despite the process being necessarily a little slower, it would be much better to partner up with a translation agency with native translators, such as BigTranslation. Your business, and your clients, will certainly thank you for it.

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