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Free online translators offer the illusion of saving time and money. However, the results they generate tend to confuse target audiences because they lack the clarity and technicality that native speakers provide.
Using a free online translator is like playing the game of telephone, but with a robot. To see how online translators can make content lose meaning, try pasting some text into Google Translate, then translating that text back to English. Your original text will have a differed context or meaning. This becomes more true as the length and complexity of your text increases.
Although online tools, like this, have improved over time, they are still not suitable for technical documents or anything that a company who cares about its image or message will be publishing. With that being said, some digital tools can benefit translation services.
The best translation providers utilize translation management software to manage projects with efficiency, cut down on your costs, and ensure that your target audience receives consistent, clear messaging.
What Kind of Translation Service Should You Use?
The best translation services are human translator-based, and use automated translation tools as a supplement. We recommend a translation process similar to our process here at International Language Services, Inc. Our ISO-certified process is centered around professional human translators who use automated tools to improve consistency and speed in their work.
Human translators are essential to clear and effective translations, and the use of translation management tools is essential for completing quality translations efficiently. Not only do translation management tools allow professional translators to reduce the time spent on translation by as much as 50 percent, but they also result in significant cost savings and efficiency.
Translation memory refers to a client-specific database that stores completed translations. This database serves as a reservoir for original content, and translated versions of that content, stored in sentence fragments. This content in the database has been translated, and proofread, for specific clients by human translators. Translation memory helps professional translators reduce costs and project timelines by referring to, and pulling from, translations that have been previously completed, thereby acting as a type of project management software.
The translation memory database differs from machine translation because it is controlled by human translators. They can choose to accept the existing translation in each context in which it occurs or make adjustments, such as updating the pronoun gender and relevant surrounding text. This assures that the resulting translation reads naturally.
For more information about translation memory, especially as it relates to industrial manufacturing, view our free guide here.
Other Translation Tools
“Translation tool” is a broad term, referring to any resource on which a professional translator might rely. Tools include, but aren’t limited to the following:
- Selling and grammar checkers
- Online dictionaries and terminology databases
- Reference materials
- Text alignment, or automatic file formatting, software
- Translation data encryption
- Terminology management software
- Language search-engine software
- Multi-file batch processing
For accurate results, these tools should be used to supplement the translation process, not as a substitute for qualified human translators.
Human Translation Over Machine Translation
At the end of the day, no online tool stands a chance against the experience and understanding that professional human translators offer. Since language represents communication between humans, the best translation process is centered around humans.
Not only are ILS translators human, but they also have native translation expertise in over 180 languages worldwide. International Language Services has more than 35 years of experience providing professional translations to companies of all types and sizes.
Our quality control processes are ISO certified to guarantee your satisfaction. And to ensure accuracy in industry-specific translations, we employ only native-speaking translators who are also subject matter experts. Contact International Language Services to learn more about how we can help with your next translation project.