The rise of technology and the development of artificial intelligence are like a daily reminder of how progress can shape our lives and drastically change them. It has affected all industries, so that’s the case for translation as well.
Artificial intelligence has been a real game-changer in the language field, as it paved the way to a brand new system of machine translation. When they were first developed, machine translation systems were based on grammatical rules, then shifted to statistical systems based on bilingual texts and monolingual corpora, and later to hybrid systems, which were a mix of the two.
Today the most widely used system is the neural machine translation. Why is it called this way? Because it bases its system on nodes, just like the human brain, and each node represents a distinct part of the language, like syntax, lexis, semantics, and so on. This structure is incredibly powerful because it is constantly implemented, reviewed, and improved by humans.
But why am I telling you all this? Because I want you to know that I am well aware that technological progress is having a significant impact in my field as well, which is one of the most ‘human-based’ industries. I do not deny nor reject it-I work with it often- but just like every single thing in the world it has limits.
Check out which 10 good reasons why choose a professional translation for a business or personal project.
- Creativity. I don’t think anybody can argue this–creativity is a unique human feature. We have plenty of tools that help us do almost everything, but even the smartest technological system cannot replace a creative flow. Not yet, at least.
- Human touch. A professional translator can be your reference point for your communication strategy. Having someone who advises you on how to address your target audience most effectively can make a difference. A native speaker of that language knows well the habits and customs of that culture and can adapt your needs accordingly.
- Consistency. Consistency is core to communication and translation goes hand in hand with it. The first thing that comes to mind when talking about consistency is terminology. But consistency can also have a broader meaning and involve marketing strategy. You don’t want your communication strategy to lose its foundations-tone of voice, values, type of language chosen - from one language to another.
- Accuracy. Machine translation often mistakes genders and words with double meanings. This happens because it doesn’t have the human ability to extrapolate meaning according to context and therefore choose the right option.
- Fluency. Machine translation systems reproduce the same structure of the source language, but the syntax can be completely different in the target language. A professional translator would adjust sentences to make the text fluid and more natural.
- Localization. Localization is translation’s best friend–knowing your target language is not enough, you need to speak that language. Localization is the part of language closest to culture, it’s the adaptation of the source text to customs and habits of the target audience. It can include the use of colors and images, text orientation, formatting of numbers and dates, sensitivity to particular topics, and so on. I’m afraid machines cannot do this (yet).
- Subject matter expertise. Professional translators constantly update with the latest news and innovations of the fields they translate into. They know about terminology, best practices, knowledge of the topic in their country, potential customers/target audience. In this way, they can offer a tailored service.
- Adjustments. Sometimes, especially with marketing strategies, it’s a good thing to try out something different and see if it brings better results. Nobody knows the perfect formula, or at least it’s difficult to come nearer to that straight away. A professional translator can adapt your communication to your new needs.
- Convenience. Oh yes, you read that right. First impressions are decisive–that’s why if your message is not clear, effective, and spot-on it can cost you a lot more than having it translated by a professional. People may not take you seriously or simply may not understand properly what you are saying.
- Feedback. Working with a professional translator means having a regular conversation to discuss what is going well and what is not, and to talk about potential ways to improve.