Do you remember when you used Google Translate for the first time, maybe 20 years ago? Results were, well, let’s say “interesting” and often comical. But that was then. Today we have several powerful, technologically evolved engines performing Machine Translation (MT), and the results are often very good. MT technology has been evolving for the last 60 years and has reached a reasonable and often high degree of accuracy.
Modern engines use a Neural Machine Translation technology that is based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), and a progress is amazing. While only a dozen languages generate excellent results by this powerful technology, the others are following very closely.
Each project is different and each client has different needs, so let’s see what is right for you!
AI can translate huge amounts of text into other language within minutes. It is very affordable. It is perfect to get the general idea or gist of the text and is usually used to translate internal briefings, instant messaging, social media – text whose translated precision is not important and that has no cultural impact or technical significance.
However, AI normally cannot relate to the context. Many languages have words with multiple meanings, and AI with minimal or no context is unable to differentiate them.
For example, the English word “tears” may have several different meanings: tears in your jeans or tears rolling down your face. Similarly, the word “spring” could be the season, a coil, a brook, or the verb “to jump.” And in the same way, the English words PLAY, LIKE, PARK, LEFT and SWING stated as instructions with no context would most likely be mistranslated by any AI program.
Professional, native speaking translators, specialized in your particular subject domain will perform the translation, providing linguistic nuances, scientific or technical accuracy, and a cultural context – but this takes time and money.
Cost is largely based on the number of words in your file and the languages it is going into. Common languages are less expensive than rare languages, and highly technical or specialized material is more expensive than simple text.
Human translators should always be used for every important document and all publicly displayed information. This includes your website, marketing messages, manuals, sales brochures, contracts, and research; videos and electronic games; as well as books.
Human professional translators will provide an accurate rendering of your text, in any language of the globe, culturally adapted; stylistically polished; and portraying the idea and the tone of the writer, where necessary.
When used by professional linguists, technology is a real asset. AI can be used to pre-translate large documents, speeding up the process and reducing your costs. Human professional translators review the machine-generated version, correcting any errors or conceptual problems, and ensuring style and cultural fluency.
For companies, governments, and nonprofits, leveraging automation and human expertise together to produce high-quality translations consistently is the perfect symbiosis.
Below are examples of an original English business sentence with:
· Pure AI versions into German and French;
· “Back translations” of the AI versions into English so you can compare; and
· Professional-translator editing of the AI version for full accuracy.
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