Human Translation Services
Still Far Superior to Machine Translation

Professional Translation Services by Certified Human Translators

We’ve compared professional document translation services by professional human translators with the process of challenging computer generated foreign language translations.  Machine translation first came into being during the Second World War, when code-breakers realized that language is akin to a set of logic problems, and thus can be solved using a logic-based machine. The machine in question was a ciphering machine, used to decipher intercepted enemy messages. The same logic has been applied to computer-aided translation, with machines deciphering the meaning of one human language, and then translating those meanings into another. This technology has found a ubiquitous internet presence, aided most recently by the advent of Smart Phones with translator applications. However, machine-based translation, though popular, simply cannot replace human translation, and, when the text in question is important, should never replace professional translation.

The problem with most computer translators is that they translate each word individually. Some translators can recognize whole phrases, making them slightly more efficient, but no machine can detect the very human layers of tone, association, slang, word play, idiom, nuance, or neologism that most people use to communicate. Language is a human invention, a human tool, and it’s as alive as we are. It moves, changes, and grows as we move, change, and grow. If you have teenagers, you’re probably well aware that the evolution of language and idiom can occur at a pace that even the savviest of programmers can’t keep up with. Consider the potential for error when translating an English idiom as simple as, “Go ahead,” word-for-word. Instead of, “proceed,” it could be translated as , “Move to the front.” While these applications might be useful for simple, one-word or single phrase translations, nobody should trust anything that isn’t human with the translation of important texts such as medical information, business records, or legal documents.

The results of poor translation are embarrassing at best. An American tourist in France might use their web translator to tell their waiter, “I’m full” in French, and the translator will tell them to say, “Je suis plein.” Male tourists can expect a few giggles and raised eyebrows, and female tourists can expect congratulations, because in French, “Je suis plein” means, “I’m pregnant.” While this will make for a cute story to tell the folks back home, poor translations can often have far-reaching and more disastrous consequences.

A recent story about a translation snafu reports that a Polish restaurant was offering “cervical cancer” on its menu instead of “crayfish.” This isn’t the best PR situation a business owner could hope for, and one small error could result in public humiliation that could prove costly for business. Can you imagine the results of such an error in a medical context? The doctor might have told you that you have a shellfish allergy, but in the translated records, you have cervical cancer! Do not rely on Internet translation devices or nonprofessional translators for your important documents. Avoid embarrassment and disaster and contact All Language Alliance, Inc. for professional translation with a human touch!

Up Next: Legal Translation Services
and International Arbitration in France