Why us? We understand context matters in language.
Translators must take into account cultural sensitivities, native vernaculars, tone, and idiomatic phrasing. Juggling all of these pieces is something the human brain does naturally and as all teachers of languages will attest, this is the hardest thing to teach a non-native language learner. Will a computer ever be able to learn these subtleties? The jury’s still out.
Beyond this, often achieving the highest quality translation means building on a creative and even artistic interpretation of the original text. So far, at least, humans are simply better than machines at this kind of task.
That’s right, humans invented language.
Although natural languages exhibit some rule-like behavior, these rules, which are more like conventions, were invented by human beings to communicate with other human beings and they continue to evolve. The result? While machine translation works fairly well for sentences, computers fall down at the document level.
For example, when a computer encounters a new phrase, e.g., the name of a new app or pharmaceutical drug, showing up several times in the same document, it may translate it several different ways, which can make the document harder to follow. It turns out that translating sentence-by-sentence leads to inconsistencies and inaccuracies due to the lack of objectivity in language.
Also, we continue to measure the performance of MT according to whether a translated text sounds like it was translated by a human being. So not all errors are equal. It’s true that algorithms for translation have improved and will continue to improve over time. Still, even with fewer word errors, machines are more likely than humans to commit errors that misrepresent the intended meaning of the text, i.e., semantic errors.
Frankly, humans understand other humans.
At the end of the day, professional translation services give you the opportunity to communicate with a diverse international audience. But if you forget who you’re trying to reach, you will lose the connection that drives your business. Human translation ensures that you maintain the heart and soul of your message.
While MT might work for small, non-crucial projects where a general understanding of the text is sufficient, important projects intended for a global audience require human translations. Human translators read more than words on a page. They understand intention, tone, and how to elicit a necessary emotional response from your target audience. For reliability and accuracy in communication, you can’t beat the human brain.
However, even if you feel machines meet your standards in terms of accuracy and efficiency, you should also consider how your customers might react if they suspect you are using a computer to communicate with them. Global clients do not want to be thought of as secondary to your primary audience. Ideally, moving between languages would be seamless and your clients around the world wouldn’t even question whether the content they’re getting was created for them. At a minimum, though, you want your clients to see that you are taking the time to consider their specific needs and that starts with getting the language right.
It’s quite possible that one day computers will develop a human-like command of natural languages. But that day is further away than most people think. Part art and part science, language translation services will remain the domain of human translators for the foreseeable future.
Some kind words about our translation services…
Regulatory Affairs Mgr.
“DTS did an excellent job with translations for us. I would highly recommend DTS Language Services to any pharma/medical device colleagues. Your company did a cost-effective, and excellent job translating and providing translation certificates.”
Associate Project Admin.
“I really appreciate you being to accommodate this request, especially for our biggest client. I am trying to highlight your great customer service and turnaround time on this project to them so that they can see what an amazing vendor you are and want to choose you in the future.”
Manager, Reg. Affairs
“You are our preferred provider of translations. We appreciate your timely service and competitive quotes and we are very happy with your service. The DTS customer portal is specifically very nice to work with as it is easy to submit a quote request and track our progress.”
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