You know the expression, “It’s like I’m talking to a robot!” that people say when they are frustrated with who they are speaking with? It is because they usually cannot make sense of what the other person is saying, or worse, cannot get an actual response from them like a normal human being could.
Usually, this happens when you call customer support or tech support. Agents have template answers for usual queries that they get, and those are what they respond to callers, regardless whether they have better ideas or responses which could actually help the callers.
This is the same with using machine translation rather than hiring technical translators. There is only so much that one could enter into a database that online translation, or translation softwares could translate properly. The problem with machine translation is that there is usually no alternative that is offered to you. And different languages have different normal sentence structure.
Even if you are shooting for a technical translation, an online translator would not have the initiative to properly translate the material to you in a way that would not be grammatically correct, but would also make sense.
Now with technical translators, you get all the good stuff that you need for a material to be translated properly. They have the expertise in translating all the jargon and technical terms from the source language to the target language of your choice. And they do it so efficiently that the essence is retained.
Naturally, for some technical stuff, like science or math textbooks, you need precise translation—not just a great one—because a single mistake could change the meaning of the text entirely, especially for formulas, or scientific explanations.
Just imagine what people would say if they read an awkward translation of one of Newton’s laws of motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite “feedback”? That is going to create a lot of misunderstanding, and probably even embarrassment, for everyone involved in translating the original.
Of course, if it is a big project, no one would actually hire technical translators who could not do the job, but if it is a simple project or even a research, and you need a quick translation guide, you can’t just hire a professional translator to check your work for you, can you?
But you see, the thing is, you can. Or rather, you can if you find a really good company that provides translation services that conveniently fit in your budget as well. And there are online resources for that. So the next time you are surfing the Internet, do not just find online translation services when you can find technical translators who will do the job for you much better than any machine translator can.
Charlene Lacandazo is a member of the marketing team for Rosetta Translation, a leading, full service translation company in London, UK.
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