When a good translation is given of a text, the professional translator will have converted the text into the target language using the same meaning as the original text. It’s not a question of performing a word for word translation. Anyone can do that, through using online translation tools. What’s most important is that the translated text includes all the cultural nuances of the original text. This is a task that an experienced human translator with a high level of knowledge in his or her pair of languages can do seamlessly, without thinking too long about the semantics of the text in either language.
Language translating has become enormously important in recent years, particularly in Europe with 27 countries belonging to the multilingual/ multicultural European Union (EU). The bureaucracy surrounding the EU is confronted with the problem of translating all relevant documents into 24 unique languages. This is not all, as trading partners stretch far and wide across the planet, involving China, Indonesia, Korea and Japan where distinct languages are spoken.
It’s not really surprising that there has been an attempt by big software companies to try and tap into this opportunity by quickly researching and developing translating software to complement this increase in demand. The emphasis has been on creating computer aided translation or machine translating to speed up the translation process.
What machine translation does
It seeks to analyse each word and term or phrase in the original text.
It breaks up the text into easily translatable parts.
It converts a term from one language to another using an identical structure.
What a human translation does
A human translator goes a step further than a machine translation by interpreting the text first. This means understanding how the cultural context needs to be interpreted so that the linguistic features of the translation clearly represent the original text. This could be crucial for the marketing of a global company like the fast food restaurants operated by McDonalds’ franchises.
McDonald’s success, when compared to other fast food chains, has been in part due to their marketing message and with their presence, covering no less than 50 different language groups around the world. They have to convey the McDonalds message as best they can in order to have the desired effect. No one can do that better than a human professional translator. The best translator ensures the marketing slogans hit the nail on the head so they clearly reflect a business’s product wherever the potential customer is likely to reside around the world.
Despite the uniqueness of a human translation, if the translator uses translation software properly it can lead to a better translation outcome at a faster speed, which helps to rapidly meet the demands of the $34 billion annual worldwide translation market.