3 Benefits Only Professional Translators Can Provide

Google Translate is fast food compared to a professional translator. We’ve talked about this before and it is still our (we are not alone) opinion that humans produce a superior result. So why do we still see so many going with the convenience of a product that produces the kind of disappointing results that habitual fast food eaters are all too familiar with?

Now, to be honest, Google Translate has made some improvements and strides in its effectiveness. We like to call it a “getting the gist” tool. If you need a quick idea of the topic or general flow of the conversation, it works well. Beyond that, we don’t recommend using it and certainly not in business situations.

If your translation or interpreting requires any level of sophistication – if it involves, say, persuading someone to buy your services or describing the particulars of a product – you’re going to need more than a machine. You’re going to require a professional human translator or interpreter and the translation tools that they use, to achieve those higher-language goals.

So what ARE the benefits you will have using a professional interpreter or translator over machine translation? We have three that come to mind right away:

1) Avoiding Mistranslations

Google Translate struggles with words or expressions that have more than one meaning.

Clients/customers can lose confidence in the products or services offered if they see that your company isn’t making accommodations for the nuances of a word’s intended use, and your corporate image could suffer.

With legal and technical texts, you could even be placed in legal danger, as with, for example, the caution section of a manual for an electrical or medical device.

A common area of mistranslation is polysemous words – words with more than one meaning. As an example, “vino en botella,” which means wine in a bottle but gets translated to “she came in a bottle.” Another is “Prohibido, no pasar,” which means “Forbidden, no trespassing,” but is often translated as “I am in danger, not to happen.”

Another common area is the literal translation of sentences, failing to take into account the context. For example “Please turn off the shower when you’re done” translated to “Por favor, vuelta lejos chaparrones cuando usted es hecho,” means something to the effect of “Please, come back, faraway downpours when you are made.” Without context, you would never know what someone actually meant.

2) Political and social correctness

Machine translation can’t account for connotation in local languages or cultures. Machine translation doesn’t handle tone very well either. For example, it’s not going to differentiate between the nuances of how you speak to someone with whom you’re familiar versus someone you’ve never met.

In English, we tend to be very casual, usually on a first-name basis from the beginning. In certain languages, there are more levels of formality and communication, depending on how well you know the person and whether the communication is in writing or speaking.

Those are decision points that a professional interpreter or translator will be making, depending on the particular situation on your behalf.

3) Confidentiality

Google Translate doesn’t offer a nondisclosure agreement.

In fact, Google’s terms of service state that Google has the right to “to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

This is an issue most particularly for the translation of legal documents, but for many others, as well.

If you are ready to enjoy the benefits of professional interpreting and translating services, let’s get in touch!