Translation of text by a computer, without human involvement
While interacting with our clients, increasingly these days, the clients mention “We use free online translation regularly for translating emails, letters and documents” – while this is like a quick fix which is free of cost, most people don’t know the cons of using free online MACHINE translation. Yes, it is a machine that handles your text!
Normally, text is input to the machine, the machine has a software program that scans the text and translates it using some algorithm. That algorithm could be as simple as a word-by-word dictionary lookup or a bit more complex with some statistical analysis thrown in.
Still, it retains the 'artificial' feel that would not appear in a human translation. Machine translations (MT) are useful for getting a general idea about the meaning of a text written in a foreign language. However, "general idea" isn't always exactly accurate; the program literally translates (word to word) the text which often results into an unprofessional and inaccurate result which is grammatically incorrect, or sometimes a completely incoherent text.
It is a common practice to use free translation programs available online to read a document in a foreign language, or to translate a document into a foreign language. It is also sometimes used off-hand for Indian languages. See an example in Hindi in Image 1! This is an actual snapshot taken by our team, of an ad appearing on a website!!!!
Machine translation from English to Hindi for an advertisement
The image 1 in itself is a proof of how free machine translation works in Indian languages, language pairs in which the technology is in a nascent stage of development.
However, the situation gets worse when MT is used for translating into a language one does not know. In such cases, the translated output cannot be read and therefore cannot be verified by the person. He/she then just blindly uses the output for whatever purpose, blissfully unaware of the problems that could arise.
Multiple issues of using MT in the corporate world
Now consider a scenario where a Project Manager is translating a document related to a Tender from Portuguese – English online on a free translation portal, just to roughly understand it- here the problems are manifold
If MT is required to produce professional high quality translation, a trained MT engine is necessary, together with specialist translators and post-editors (proofreaders of text post Machine translation!) who can check, edit and validate the MT output. However this is only possible for large corpora of data. When it comes to a one time translation requirement, especially for your commercial or technical data, it is always better to get it translated through a human being!
Artificialness in language after translation – problems in syntax (sentence structure) influenced by source language, therefore providing translation that seems unnatural/artificial.
E.g. “order” can be related to:
Depending on these meanings, the word is translated differently in the target language by a human translator. However, it gets complex for the program to translate it in such cases & it chooses a statistically highly used word. Things get worse when such words are not available in the target language at all. In such cases, a human translator will normally put in more words and make the term comprehensible, whereas a machine translation will just replace the word by any translation it has depending on the statistics of the word being used in a corpus on which it is trained.
Think of the consequences of such irresponsible use of MT in business situations! The results can be catastrophic. We have been thinking of writing to the Marketing Department of a Large FMCG group in India, the food labels of which have been translated into painfully incorrect French and have been printed on their packs. This not only annoys the respective buyers (as most Europeans are very particular and proud about their language) but leads them to question the quality of the products also (from India).
It is clear that automated translation software is here to stay, and there is no turning back. What should you do? First of all, know that automated translation software has its place, but only for a certain applications. Since it is free, you can always use it for general purposes, such as chatting with a friend abroad, expanding your vocabulary, etc.
Apart from that, you should use translation services provided by trained professionals to achieve desirable results; otherwise, problems are bound to arise. If, however, you cannot avoid using a software application, make sure to hire a professional translator/editor to give your document a second look. This kind of final-editing and quality check is always recommended, even for a translation done by a human, because it reduces the inevitability of mistranslation and errors, and thus can turn a translated piece into something worthwhile.
At this point of time, at least, that what is written by a human can be properly translated into another language only by another human. Computers with translation software can get very close indeed, but excellence is not about getting close. It’s about delivering accurate and professional translation results.
A good translation is a basic requirement for any company selling a product or service worldwide. It makes good business sense to have brochures, website, promotional literature and contracts translated in the language of the target country. At times, it seems easier to use free translation software through a search engine or other websites. However, one shouldn’t forget that incorrect translations of documents can be disastrous for both the company and clients.
For the last 37 years, Language Services Bureau has helped the Indian Industry to bridge the communication gap while interacting with their foreign clients, collaborators and counterparts. Right from translating websites, brochures, product labels, patents, legal documents, agreements, contracts, recipe books, to general correspondence, technical manuals, drawings, standards and specifications, LSB has consistently delivered high quality reliable and timely translations. For more details visit our website www.languageservicesbureau.com or get in touch with us at email@example.com
Get in touch with us today on our email id or call us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: +91-20-24470509, +91-82370 60559
Similar articles for you...
आमच्या गेल्या महिन्यातील ब्लॉग मध्ये भाषांचे ज्ञान आवश्यक असणाऱ्या करियर क्षेत्रांची माहिती आपल्याला मिळाली. जिथे भाषेचे ज्ञान फायद्याचे ठरते असे इतर व्यवसाय आपण या महिन्यात पाहुयात.
Posted by : Language Services Bureau
तुम्ही कोणत्या ही क्षेत्रात काम करीत असलात तरी विविध भाषांचे ज्ञान अवगत असणे, हे एक महत्वाचे कौशल्य आहे. जागतिकी करण, आंतरराष्ट्रीय व्यापार उद्दमा मध्ये झपाट्याने झालेली वाढ, इंटरनेट व त्याची व्याप्ती यांमुळे नोकरीसाठी उमेदवारांची निवड करताना उमेदवाराला एखादी परकीय भाषा अवगत असेल तर त्याला निश्चितच प्राधान्य मिळते.