Everyone who needs thorough and correct translation work done should know that human translation services beat Google Translate every time. While a free tool is hard to beat, in a sense, the accuracy of any free translation has to be taken into account. Translators who know the target language might be better than Google, but not by much.
Translation Services Beat Google Translate
Verbal Ink did a fascinating test comparing Google Translate to their own experts and to an outside translator. The test compared all three on their ability to correctly translate a short article on ADHD. Google Translate delivered the worst results.
The outside translator who knew English as a second language, delivered a translation of marginal quality. The language was correct in many ways but included odd language, like “helping club” instead of “support group”.
Paying a premium for translation by someone who is an expert in actually using the target language is often worth the extra money. Someone with a thorough command of the target language does more than just get the sentence structure, punctuation and words right. This is what a customer should expect from a translator who grew up speaking the original language and has used the target language regularly for years.
The ability to communicate tone and nuance make for a great translation. In marketing, text that’s translated from Russian to French, for example, that captures the ‘voice’ of the Russian company is even more important. In technical translations, someone who knows and uses both languages will do a more-accurate translation, one that lacks obvious misunderstandings.
A little test with free translation software illustrates the sorts of problems that come up with concepts that are only a little bit complex. Consider this example of a tagline for a fictional management consultancy:
- Original – Building Better Nonprofit Programs Together
- Spanish – Creación de mejores programas sin fines de lucro Together (from Google Translate)
- Spanish – La construcción de programas mejor no lucrativos juntos (from Promt)
Anyone who knows English and Spanish can see that the free translations are dead wrong. A human translator who really knows English would know that ‘nonprofit’ is a type of organization and not a term for ‘without any money’.
This simple demonstration and the study from Verbal Ink make it clear that expert human translators are worth the extra money for complex translation tasks where nuance and unusual terms are crucial.
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