Translating words and translating meaning may seem trivial because, surprisingly, many businesses take translation for granted. However, there is a huge difference between the two and if companies are complacent about the difference, it may lead to serious consequences, in terms of Brand and revenue.
Yes, it’s that serious.
Some may argue that artificial intelligence (AI) or machine translation will be taking over. But one cannot just rely on the development and future implementation of machine translation because, although a machine may be faster and smarter, it does not have the psychological interpretation of human brain.
Words do not indicate meaning.
We know that technology’s growth is exponential and despite its advancements, there are many factors that underlie the foundation of translation.
One major argument surfaced from a recent Wall Street Journal article by technology policy expert Alec Ross, who said “Within a decade or so, we’ll be able to communicate with one another via small earpieces with built-in microphones.” However, Twitter’s own company CEO, Jack Dorsey conceded that translation cannot happen in real time and even if platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google or Bing are able to translate words instantly, the quality is not great.
There will never be an easy way out when it comes to running a business and those who take the shortcuts often have deal with the after effects. Particularly, when it comes to Brand establishments in new countries or new strategies to engage the foreign target audiences, translating of words should not be taken lightly.
If it is a business that you build from ground up, if it is your brand that you believe in, if you plan on targeting new audiences in a different country, speaking a different language, would you do everything you can to make sure your Brand message is expressed correctly?
Computers can “learn” and eventually when all past documents, literature, research, or a set of data make its way to the cloud over the coming years, wouldn’t technology be able to provide professional translation?
Regardless of how highly proficient artificial intelligence may be in the future, languages have its own rules and do not function in such manner. With more than 7,000 languages in around 195 countries across the world, the technical aspects of languages involve syntactic, phonetic, and semantic rules. Those are just the basics. Therein lies the human factors involved.
What exactly are the human factors involved when it comes to translation?
In order to provide professional translation services, not only will businesses have to look into the context of the source files, but they will have to take into account the internal and external factors of the new market environment:
- Cultural values
- Belief system
- Local Legal System
These factors are what artificial intelligence, machine translation or even neural machine translation is unable to achieve, at least not in the near future.
The sensitivity of providing professional translation services must be taken into close consideration and this spans far beyond just translating words. From the skill set of hiring a professional translator to engaging a professional language solutions service provider, translating meaning is the definition for high quality and understanding of languages for business.
When we look at the manufacturing industry, banking and finance industry, or legal industry, manufacturing translation services, construction translation services, financial translation services or even legal translation services require the most highly trained linguistic expert to ascertain to the demands of a high quality translation work. Even words with double meaning play a vital role in such sensitivity. For instance, the word “attorney” difference minutely in the UK and the US. In UK, the main legal advisor to the government is known as Attorney General but in the US, the local public official representing the government in prosecuting criminals is called a District Attorney.
As a business, it is not only trivial to say that translating words via online translation platform is good enough but it needs to be taken seriously and if professional translation services is required, at a fractional cost, by the business, for effective execution, then the calculated risk will be rewarding.