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5 Reasons Why Human Translation is Important

As technology evolves, more free translation applications are flooding the market. These translator apps can translate books, manuals, product descriptions, websites, letters, advertisements, and anything else fast and free. Why would a business need a human translator?

Human Translation

How many times has the team used Google Translate and got amusing translations? Is the phrase “lost in translation” familiar? It happens and it can be hilarious. However, it’s no longer funny if mistakes are made and damages the brand or worse, get sued because a piece of critical information was incorrectly translated.

As technology evolves, more free translation applications are flooding the market. These translator apps can translate books, manuals, product descriptions, websites, letters, advertisements, and anything else fast and free. Why would a business need a human translator? Let’s find out…

 

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What Is Human Translation? Why Is It Important?

Translation, by definition, is the process of changing written text created in one language into another language. Human translation involves interpretation. It is impossible to get an exact word-for-word translation of a source document into a target language. 

The team can try but may find out that literal translations could sometimes change the whole meaning of the document. This is where human translation comes in. With human translation, the same message can be communicated in a source document into another language. Only humans can understand the intricacies of human language. This is something that machines can’t do. 

The demand for translation will always be there. For example, the legal field will need translations for court proceedings, records, depositions, and petitions. Law enforcement organisations have statements, interviews, and other documents requiring translation. The medical field would need records and notes translated. One example in 2020 includes translation demand increasing by 49 per cent in the healthcare industry due to COVID-19 information.

Research showed that businesses that invested in translation have 1.5 times more chances of revenue growth – leading brands and organisations in the insurance, financial, and other industries to translate their websites, marketing emails, medical documents and more.

 

Understanding the Translation Process

When a translation from a machine is received, the team just needs to copy/paste the text or press a button to start the translation process. However, comprehensive translation is a complex process that only humans can do. The translation process involves having a professional translator or linguist who is a native speaker of the target language or has studied the language extensively. 

The translator will translate the document into the target language with the exact meaning, style, and tone depicted in the original document. Human translators do not use a one-format-fits-all method. The human translator chooses the right words to communicate the right feeling. 

Because of the intricacies of human language, it takes a human translator to understand the expressions involved and the connotations and make sense of phrases used in communication.

 

5 Reasons Why Human Translation is Important

 

1. Humans understand the context

Machines and translation apps can be accurate in translating from one language to another, and that’s useful. However, when a paragraph or a whole document needs to be translated, the problem starts. Machines cannot process the intricacies of the human language. They translate the words into the target language or give a gist of a foreign language. Unlike humans, it cannot get the concept or the context of the message. 

Human translators take great pains to ensure that documents are translated into their context. A human translator understands feelings and respects culture, taboos, and traditions. They put that into consideration which in turn results in fluent translation.

 

2. Humans can translate metaphors and slang words

Language is full of slang words, jargon, metaphors, and nuances that either don’t translate or translate poorly.  For example, when it is said, “This is a hot commodity.” A machine won’t understand and will most likely give a literal translation about a hot object. A human translator will explain that a hot commodity refers to someone or something in high value or demand.

 

 3. Human translation is accurate

Machines can translate some jobs sufficiently. A human translator fits needs best when important business documents require to be interpreted.  

A human translator is accurate and can give precisely what is required. With a human translator, there is no need to recheck the translation as they understand what is wanted, and will use the exact words to match the requirements. They can also add a human touch to make the blog marketing campaign sound more interesting to appeal to people.

 

 4. Human translation is cheaper 

With Google Translate and all other apps, it is often thought a human translator is not needed for payment anymore. Why would anyone spend money if it is accessible for free? Here’s the thing! 

A machine or an app to translate sensitive projects can be trusted. 

However, the wrong choice of words could seriously affect the company’s reputation. Translations from apps can be free, but inaccurate results could end up with the team having to spend more money to settle the mess.

 

 5. Human translation understands the business aspect

If documents and marketing campaigns need to be translated, this is where human translation excels. Companies pour a lot of effort and often spend millions of dollars developing their brands. 

A machine can potentially relay the right message to promote a brand but it will rarely be effective or strongly written. Only a human translator with a background in marketing has the creative thinking required to maintain consistency in a brand.

 

To Wrap Up…

Translation is not a mechanical process. It’s possible to get the accuracy and quality close to a human translation from a machine. That being said, pure machine translation still excels in other aspects. A business can use machine translation for non-sensitive documents. It can help the team get around in a new place with a foreign language. When utilised well it can be an asset to a business. 

However, human translation is far more effective when dealing with sensitive documents. In the world of translation, mistakes are expensive. A business can’t afford to have documents get “lost in translation,” especially if a whole business or reputation is on the line. At LEXIGO, we provide professional human translation and machine translation and can help you decide which option is best for your type of content.


Written by Sophia Dickinson, LEXIGO: Sophia is a writer and communications consultant with 10 years’ experience in the public service and not-for-profit sectors. She has also taught English in France and spent a year working at a local NGO in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is passionate about writing, intercultural communication and languages (she speaks French, Indonesian and is learning Spanish). Read more about her experiences here.