While Google Translate and similar machine translation tools do offer a means for readers to achieve a basic understanding of a text, computers fail to render the nuanced, culturally correct translations created by humans. Machine translation frequently proves useful to decipher blogs, Facebook posts or tweets in a foreign language, but this technology falls short when the occasion calls for precise language, carefully crafted wording, and subtle turns of phrase.
Machine translation will never learn to pick up on the cultural undertones and subtleties at play in language. Jokes, idioms and wordplay are largely lost on Google Translate, which fails to capture the “flavor” of the text.
The following types of translations should never be left up to Google Translate or any other machine translation tool:
- Sales and marketing texts requiring both linguistic and cultural understanding
- Patent translations or other technical literature where accuracy carries great importance
- Medical and pharmaceutical texts, particularly when such information may mean a matter of life or death
- Legal texts such as contracts, court orders, and wills, where any error in the text may have profound legal implications
- Any document that represents the public face of your business or organization, including websites, brochures, manuals, etc.
Recently, some translation service providers have begun offering post-edited machine translations as an alternative to professional human translations; however, it is the experience of many translation agencies that it actually takes more time for a skilled translator to proofread and edit a machine translation than to create a translation from scratch.
A high quality translation of your documents, website, etc. will prove to be invaluable in terms of projecting an image of professionalism and integrity for your business or organization. Open up your product or business to an audience of some 330 million Spanish speakers worldwide through a professional translation of your text. A relatively modest investment in translated materials for your business will continue to pay dividends long into the future.