Google Translate is a tool used to translate words, phrases, and web pages between English and another language – up to 100 different languages! But sometimes the results are amusing. For example, Google Translate does not recognize that avocat in the legal world means something different in the culinary world when it translates “J’ai mange un avocat” to mean “I ate a lawyer.”
Still, technology has come a long way in the translation industry. Machine translation offers quick and cost-effective ways for businesses and organizations to translate a larger volume of documents with little overhead. However, making decisions is a fundamental part of any kind of communication. This is where machine translation falls short.
Human translation is a process that involves careful development, revision, and refining. It’s more than simply translating the document word for word. To do so would change the whole meaning of the document. The translator chooses the right words that will effectively deliver the message. The translator’s goal is to communicate the message in the source document – including grammar, idioms, conventions, and context – into another language, preserving the meaning as close to the original as possible. Machine translation, although cheaper and faster, cannot deliver the quality and accuracy that human translation can deliver.
Human translation involves the work of a team of professionals:
a professional linguist/translator, who translates the meaning, tone, and spirit of a document into the target language
a professional editor, who polishes the translator’s work, making sure it contains proper punctuation, grammar, and other language elements unique to the target language
a project manager, who reviews the final work and ensures that the message, style, and tone stay faithful to the original and closely depicted in the target language.
There’s no doubt that machine translation can save you money and time, but it will never match the accuracy and quality of human translation.