All Things Localization / Language Technology / Translation

The Personal Touch: 3 Positives to Human Translation

Communication is a vital, everyday process. With the advent of technology, the speed at which ideas are formed and exchanged between individuals, groups, and corporations now moves at an incredible pace. Machines that once complemented humans with their communications, such as computers and cellphones, are rapidly being integrated with algorithmic solutions and artificial intelligence. The ability to incorporate decision-making and perceptive strategies into language conversions automatically and instantly is increasingly in demand. As translation engines, such as Google Translate or Bing Translator, continue to seamlessly integrate into our global conversations, will the inevitable AI adaptations phase out the need for human translation altogether? We at CSOFT think the need for human translation will never be overtaken by machine only translations, and share our key reasons why below.

Three positives to human translations:

  1. The foundation for your content is stronger. Machines misuse language structures. Although machine-translated text may contain all the necessary components for comprehensibility, the syntactical and grammatical structures that construct well-written text are outside the gamut of a machine’s capabilities. A word-for-word translation is almost always going to fail when conveying intrinsic structures like mood, style, and the delicate nuances of emotion and meaning within content. A human translator is far more capable of structuring appropriate sentences and therefore structuring the appropriate ideas your content holds. Furthermore, the expertise needed to understand the multiple meanings of individual words, and how they collocate to create new meaning, is a feat only truly mastered by human translators.
  2. Adaptability to different formats is easier. Machines cannot comprehend the impact of varied content output. The difference in what makes a marketing proposal creative, and a white paper concise, goes beyond word-by-word comprehension. Human translators bring a deep, perceptive understanding about the intent of content and ensure that the format is representative as well.
  3. Context is carried over from your original content. Machines cannot identify your target audience. Ideas such as age appropriateness, educational backgrounds, and cultural sensitivities, are not easily definable and are almost impossible to take in to account when a machine translates your content. Using a human translator can offer real power as to the design and purpose of your content. The sensitivity needed to navigate societal values and norms goes beyond a simple word being chosen; human translators are well-equipped to manage your ideals.
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While machine translations are certainly improving, the final output is cost-effective only on paper. Real content value comes from the intuitive, contextual prose that is created by human translators. When translating content from one language to another, the impact a human translator will bring to your brand outweighs the quick-and-easy machine approach.

Written by Erin Strong Senior Tech Writer at CSOFT International

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Hailing from the proud land of New Zealand, Erin Strong has been dipping her digital pen into the inky depths of China for four years. From refining teaching curriculums in Hebei, to providing in-depth reviews of hot coffee houses for China's capital city mag the Beijinger, Erin would like to think she's made herself as a tradie wordsmith. Now fronting one of CSOFT's Technical Communication channels, she is honing her craft in the domain of technical communication, striving for accurate, clear, and meaningful communication with every sentence.