From the ability of Google Translate to translating dozens of languages in real-time to the incredible conversational abilities of Sophia, the world-famous talking android built by Hanson Robotics, it’s clear that the capabilities of machine translation and NLP (natural language processing) are nothing short of remarkable. So is it still really worth it to use a translation agency these days?
The Human Touch
As the world is becoming increasingly globalized, it is more important than ever to be able to communicate in more than one language. But communicating alone isn’t enough. It’s essential to communicate well, and for that you need localization. For example, if your company is a European brand that would like to expand to Asia, it is important for your brand to localize its products and the content it shares to increase brand awareness and gain trust.
However, despite the speed and convenience of machine translation, it can still be inconsistent and error-prone. More importantly, machine translation programs simply do not have the lived experience and cultural background of human beings, making them incapable of localizing content to adapt to the local culture and language quirks.
Native speakers of the language, on the other hand, can tailor a translation to have the correct tone in the target language and avoid any confusing language or mistranslations as a result of one-to-one machine translation that may be offensive or embarrassing.
Two Heads Are Better Than One
Ever heard of the website www.Engrish.com? Or seen one of those “Worst Spelling Mistakes Ever” lists? Then it should be immediately obvious why investing in a good proofreader is just as important as investing in human translation. A single letter or punctuation mark out of place can turn an otherwise ordinary piece of text into the butt of a joke, and that’s not the kind of publicity your company needs.
Although hiring both a translator and a proofreader may seem like added expense and time, the benefits of proofreading are clear, and the process ensures the most effective, compelling translations.
The “Human Translation-Native Proofreading” model used by HI-COM is similar to the Extreme Programming (XP) framework within Agile development, in that it is based on most of the same core values:
- Communication – “Software development is inherently a team sport that relies on communication to transfer knowledge from one team member to everyone else on the team”; similarly, the “Human Translation-Native Proofreading” model leverages the sharing of knowledge from one team member to another to produce a superior result.
- Simplicity – “Simplicity” means “what is the simplest thing that will work?” The purpose of this is to avoid waste and do only absolutely necessary things… Simplicity also means address only the requirements that you know about; don’t overload the customer for unnecessary validation at every step of the translation.
- Feedback – “Through constant feedback about their previous efforts, teams can identify areas for improvement and revise their practices…” Similarly, in translation proofreading, feedback exchanged between the translator and the proofreader is used to refine the final text for the greatest clarity, accuracy, and cultural appropriateness.
- Respect – “The members of your team need to respect each other in order to communicate with each other, provide and accept feedback that honors your relationship, and to work together to identify simple designs and solutions.” In the “Human Translation-Native Proofreading” model, both the translator and the proofreader take the work seriously, and provide and accept feedback with mutual respect in order to work toward the most effective translation.
Through frequent discussion and feedback, the translator of the source file and the proofreader of the target file reach a balance of respecting the original meaning of the source text, while producing the most natural, readable, and culturally appropriate translation for the readers of the target language.
Check HI-COM’s proofreading services here.
Need a proofreader? Contact us today to get your free quote.
The Professional Edge
You might be wondering, “But I have a colleague/employee who speaks Chinese/German/Japanese/… Can’t I ask them to do it?” or “I have a friend of a friend who can maybe do me a quick favor and translate it – why don’t I just ask them?” or “There must be a cheap translator SOMEWHERE online, right?”
Can you? Yes. Should you? No. Although it may seem cheaper or “easier”, let’s take a look at the reasons.
- Your colleagues and employees already have a full day’s work to do every day, and quality translation and localization take TIME.By pushing this task onto them, not only are you adding to their workload, you’re taking their time and attention away from the work they already need to be doing (plus, studies show that on average, it takes approximately 25 minutes to refocus your full attention on a task after being distracted). Unless you’re paying them a big bonus (and wasn’t the point to save money?), it’s a sure way to lower employee morale, which is never good for a company in the long run.
- Your friend of a friend may be a nice person who may be willing to translate something as a favor, but you probably don’t know their skill level. And if you’re asking them to translate something as a favor, they have no incentive to ensure the highest quality or accuracy.
- Yes, there are cheap translators/editors everywhere, but again, you can’t ensure their skill level. And as they say, “you get what you pay for”. If you only pay low-quality prices, you can expect a low-quality translation. And consequently, you can expect a less-than-ideal reaction from readers.
By working with an agency like HI-COM, you can avoid all of these risks, and STILL save time and money. At HI-COM, all of our translators have at least 5 years of experience and specialise in one or more industries. Furthermore, our translators and proofreaders are all university-educated and able to adapt quickly to offer high-quality service, whereas your colleagues, acquaintances, and even freelance translators may not have had any previous training.
Read more about Chinese copywriting services at HI-COM
Working with a translation agency also means that you are much more likely to get a high- quality translation. Each project will be carried out by a translator specifically chosen to best meet your needs, while also assigning a proofreader to ensure that errors or misinterpretations are minimized.
HI-COM is a multilingual translation agency dedicated to providing professional translation and interpreting services to companies around the world. Working with more than 40 languages, HI-COM is the localization partner for hundreds of companies and brands.
Choose HI-COM as your partner for all your translation and other projects!