Automated Translations Just Can't Do The Job | Bilingua Franca

Why Automated Translations Just Can’t Do The Job

Bilingua Franca

Using Automated Translations

Mobile phone usageUsing a translation app seems like an easy thing to do. You go to the app store for your device and download an app from one of the megasites, because they are well known brands. Now you can just take your phone and pop in what you want to say into the translation app made by one of these mega companies and away you go. What could possibly go wrong? It won’t take you long to figure that out.

For starters, you are working with a machine and not a human. Machines operate based upon an analytical series of calculations with no regards for how the outcome looks or sounds. A mass translation site will only provide you with the closest possible match. This process is the same as wanting an omelet and getting scrambled eggs. The end result looks similar from an analytical sense, but the end user can tell you with full certainty that what they are eating is certainly not an omelet. Huffington Post went into detail on this regarding some of the more common myths associated with automated translation sites and how they simply can not hope to be the one stop shop for translation needs.

Disadvantages of Translation Apps

If you consider why a person may be in need of a translation service, the end result will vary. A tourist for example may be given some leeway in regards to using incorrect language for a situation and have this chalked up to just not knowing the language. But what if you are a business? Take a look at the experiences mentioned in this article posted on digitaltrends. Users routinely pointed out that while the translation app appears to be useful, what it really does is it to butcher what you are attempting to say and only hinders the communication process.

upset hispanicIf you are attempting to operate in a global capacity and your attempt at translating your message to potential customers is incomprehensible, incomplete, or possibly even offensive, how will that reflect on you? In a recent article posted on communicaid, Declan Mulkeen described some of the major factors necessary for needing to have a global ability to communicate. He stressed the importance of language and even went so far as to state that in many cases, language use was just as important as the price of an item. So what if the language you are relying on from your translation app contains frequent errors that makes you appear to be sloppy or uninformed? It could cost you dearly as a business owner.

What About Idioms?

Another useful concept to consider when using a translation service, especially if you are attempting to translate American English, is that the context of certain words and phrases simply will not translate over.  American English relies heavily on the use of idioms as a means of everyday speak in both social and business atmospheres. A list of some of the more common idioms that simply can’t be translated using the larger services was discussed in recent time on a Ted Talk. The article goes on to show in details that there are simply too many variations in the English language that we take for granted. If you say you want to kill two birds with one stone when speaking with a client, how are they receiving that message?

Financial trouble surrounded by sharksThe list could go on and on in regards to why mass translation sites just can not do the job that you need done. Here is just one more example of well documented cases where translations went incredible wrong causing both personal and financial catastrophes across the globe. Meltalfloss put together a list of some of the more historic failures at translations and what they cost in the end. The price of some of these is staggering to say the least.

So if you can’t rely on the big companies for your needs, what can you do? For starters, you should clearly define whom you are seeking to work with and find a human translator who can fluently express what it is you are trying to say in the target language. You need your message to come out clearly and convey the same meaning you intend it to have.

One of the largest markets for translation needs today is English to Spanish. This is a need that will only continue to grow as the two cultures continue to work side by side with one another. In this competitive market, the last thing you want is to lose out on potential revenue due to an inaccurate translation. Contact us today so we can work with you on your translation needs and ensure that your message comes across clearly and without fail.

Pablo V.
Founder of Bilingua Franca. Pablo holds a BA in Sociology and works as an Organic SEO Strategist for an agency in Phoenix. He is a study abroad enthusiast, a lover of deep and meaningful conversations, and is always fascinated to understand how things work. His passions include culture, language, human behavior, and astronomy.

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