Why use a professional translator?

Friday 08 May 2015

It is often tempting or may seem more financially viable to translate a document yourself using freely available translation tools. There are plenty to choose from, each tailored to slightly different requirements. For example, Google Translate will translate a web page for you as well as emails, documents and Tweets and also has an audio tool, it cannot accurately translate in all contexts where a word has multiple meanings. However, whilst some tools are fairly good and using a combination of tools can work well, none are able to translate the myriad subtle meaning of some words that are only familiar with embedded knowledge of culture and history of a particular region.

Microsoft’s equivalent, Bing Translator, is recognised as having excellent functionality on the Windows Phone app, particularly its ability to be able to recognise characters and translate immediately on screen along with a voice recognition translation facility allowing a native speaker to speak into the phone and it will translate what is being said. 

To assist with meaning and context, applications such as Linguee are available, which are more like a dictionary. Linguee will not translate documents but it can assist with vocabulary and meaning.

The biggest hurdle with DIY translation is context. Unless you are an expert in the subject into which you are translating, it makes it very hard to get the result the original author or speaker intended. A fully qualified translator will have studied and practised professionally for years and will be an expert in areas such as legal translation, medical and technical translation.

Even with a dictionary style solution such as Linguee it is highly likely that youwill not find the word you are looking for, simply as some words may be used in a regional, cultural or historical context and would only be recognised by an expert in that language.

As language evolves over time it is also vital when translating legal and technical documentation that you are working with the most up-to-date language skills.

Accurate translation is time consuming and intricate therefore if you were to opt to do it yourself you would need to have enough spare time in order to complete the task.

In summary, there are many reasons why using a professional translator is preferable to attempting the work yourself:-

  1. Translation software can never be entirely accurate when it comes to every word and context; more often than not, the translation will make no sense at all. A professional translator is able to apply expert knowledge of the subject and target language in order to render an accurate translation which reads well in the target language.
  2. Professional translators are fluent in the source and target language and can therefore translate with a greater degree of accuracy. They can choose equivalent expressions in the target language which fully convey the meaning in the source language. 
  3. It is vital that some forms of translation, especially legal and technical, are executed accurately or serious consequences may arise. Sales and marketing texts must also be translated in a particular style to allow the message to be conveyed as poignantly as it is in the domestic market.
  4. A professional translator can translate much quicker than if you have to do the research yourself.
  5. A professional translator will have the most up-to-date language and writing skills.

Expert translators RL Translations can translate in any language in any subject. With almost a decade in the industry and a strong team of 1500 translators, contact us for a free quote with your translation enquiry.

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