In the summer of 2007, a group of reporters in Israel chose a translation shortcut of sorts and used an online automatic language tool on a website to translate a document to be sent by email to the Dutch Embassy in the city of Tel Aviv. The message was purposed to have been about a conference on politics in the Netherlands, and to be delivered to the Dutch minister in person. Unluckily, the message wasn’t even close; the result was that the journalist asked the Dutch minister some weird and upsetting questions regarding his mother.
So much for online translations.
It is obvious that machine translations have restrictions; they cannot necessarily think and debate, neither can they positively understand cohesion and flow of the words. They most of the times can just do as good or as bad as the programmers designed them to do. In the above case, although we can absolutely blame the reporters for not getting an accurate translation for such an important and respected message, one has to consider that portion of the accusation should drop on the poor and shoddy programming that was done on the website tool itself. Translation Service Singapore
These online tools, i.e. Google’s Online Translator and Babelfish from Yahoo!, surely are of a little help and have some advantages; everyone has access to these online tools for small or no cost at all, and they assist very good for private projects or for single-word translations. More cutting-edge translation programs such as Babylon and Systran are even more helpful in that they contain dictionaries and usual phrases, as well as verb usage and grammar additions for many countries’ languages.
However, when it comes to a formal, genuine translation service, no one of these methods can really compare with the human touch.
So why should someone decide on one method over some other? The choice depends on the project itself. For a simple job, like a website translation, for example, most online linguist services provide an adequate “gist”. Google’s on-board translator plug-in can automatically translate just about any website you visit from Google’s search engine, in more than 54 languages. For personal uses, maybe sending a message to a loved one or a friend abroad, the online language professional may also have use – provided he or she has a good sense of humor.
Many professional translators themselves use translation software to do their work, which might or might not be of use to you. Why pay someone else $250.00 just to use software you can possibly purchase for $99 and use yourself? Most translation software is also very easy to use now. In most software, you just load a document, and the translation software reads and re-writes it. There is hardly any human interaction whatsoever. Although the professional translation software is designed to make the best “guess” of what the original text contained, there are some issues to be addressed.
For example, translation software most likely will not understand cultural components, special dialects or slang. Many if not all software programs just do not have the database extensibility in order that include these versions and various dialects. The translation is word by word, so if any extra expressions, such as Singapore’s slang of placing “lah” at the end of some words, will be incomprehensible to the software.
Another disadvantage is inspiration. Let’s face it; this is a machine. It doesn’t have emotion or voice; it can’t feel anything and it certainly cannot express itself. When you are writing a message to someone of a respectable stature, e.g. a legal counsel, the expression should stay cordial and professional at all times throughout. Software translators don’t catch this “mood”. Whatever you say in your original message is all that the software will catch. It will not search for other words to use, nor will it propose you to alter the expression of the text. This can also be unfavorable to a novelist needing to translate his or her book from one language to another.
If you truly think to go with the human touch in your translations, it is surely the better option as far as readability and precision. If you have a Russian document, for instance, it would be a great idea to hire someone who knows the Russian language or is Russian. There is neither software nor a computer needed then.
This way can of course be very expensive. This writer found it needed some day to translate several legal documents in English that had to be translated to the Russian language fast. The cost to do so was $250.00, to translate about twenty pages. So while the human translation service can be a very good alternative when you want 100% accuracy, make sure you will in fact be dealing with humans before spending