Man vs. Machine: Who Should Translate Your Brand’s Content?

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Let’s delve into that all-important question – “Should I use Google Translate or a professional translator to translate my content?”


It ultimately depends on what you’re translating, of course. A financial report for instance, should be translated by a professional linguist with a background in this sector. If you’re looking to translate your website, you’d obviously need a human to perform the job. But if you simply want to learn how to say “hello” in German, then a machine translation tool like Google Translate would do the job.


The machine vs human translation battle has long been a topic of debate in recent years. As the translation market grows (currently worth more than $30 billion), technology also advances, offering more room for the emergence of sophisticated machine translation.


There are several types of technologies available in the market but none come close to the competence of a human translator. Believe it or not, there’s a better alternative to simply cutting-and-pasting content into Google Translate. For accurate results, choose a professional translator or even better, a translation agency.


Machine Translation – The Pros and Cons

Let’s cut to the chase – machines produce translations much faster. Projects can be delivered in just a few minutes while a human translator might take up to an hour. Most online services are free, making machine translation a cheaper alternative. Despite these benefits, machine translation has one major downside – the standard of translation is almost always inaccurate, especially if you want to translate industry-specific content that requires particular terminology.


Certain words and phrases are unique across different languages and industries and a machine is unable to translate context. If you’re translating something to be read by the masses, then it’s highly recommended you opt for a human translator – translation mistakes or inaccuracies can be harmful and costly for your brand.


“Technology may be advancing and machine translations may be improving but generally, we believe content will always need that human touch” says Michal Shinitzky, the managing director at Pangea Translation and Localization services. “Whether you are translating for a Forex company or an iGaming firm, you should make sure your translator has background in finance or gaming and that they understand the market. You need to really understand the material to be able to translate correctly and contextually”.


Human Translation – The Pros and Cons

A machine will get the gist of a text but very rarely will it perform an accurate translation. If you want to ensure quality and accuracy, it’s best you turn to a human translator. A translator won’t just interpret word for word, they will interpret the context and make sure to capture the same meaning, with regards to the respective industry. A human can detect idioms, metaphors or particular phrases that need to be localized and identify content that requires specialized terminology for your sector.


Human translators may be more expensive than machines and the turnaround time may be longer, but at least you’ll be assured of proper results. Be rid of any grammatically awkward content or false word choices which obscure meaning. As long as they are experts in the associated fields, linguists can translate anything from gaming to financial translations using the accurate lingo.


There is a lot of technology readily available for translation agencies which not only assist translators but the clients, too. Translation memory tools for example, speed up projects, making the work easier for linguists and reduce costs simultaneously for clients. This cutting-edge database technology stores terminology, sentences and phrases that have been previously translated for reuse in future projects. Clients are charged less for repeated phrases and work efficiency is boosted for translators. Many agencies use TM, but that isn’t the be-all and end-all of their work processes. A human translator is still necessary.


To sum up, should you use Google Translate to translate your content? The answer is no – especially if you value your brand. Tell a translation agency a bit about your industry, make sure they have expert linguists in the field, and you’re bound to see higher quality translations.
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