Translating a web page quickly through a browser-based translation tool might work well when someone just wants to see what a website says, but for companies that need to communicate with customers in other countries, accurate translation is vital for many reasons. Not only may the company’s reputation rest upon how the website and its communications are perceived, but sales may depend on the language accuracy.
The accuracy of a web-based translation service isn’t the best, and it’s certainly not a tool to be used for creating the content of a permanent website. Human translators who have experience in the culture and language of a specific geographic region will always be best for creating an accurate translation of what the company wants to say.
One of the biggest advantages of a human translator is that cultural differences and subtle colloquialisms are considered during the translation, and this may mean the difference between complimenting and insulting a potential customer. Just because a particular phrase means something in one language, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate the same way into another. A common expression in one country could mean something entirely different when translated word-for-word into another.
A human translator with experience in the culture of another country will be able to pick up on subtle changes that might need to be made within the provided text. The translator will be able to ensure the language is appropriate for consumption by the residents of another country or society. Just like certain gestures and modes of dress may signify completely different things in various countries, the meaning of language also changes dramatically across the world.
Even if someone could translate every single word in a document by using a browser-based translator or a regular translation book, the resulting translation could be entirely garbled and unintelligible by readers from another country. In terms of business sales and worldwide reputation for a company, a bad translation could reduce sales and growth opportunities for a company looking to expand.
Another vital element of proper translation exists with the idea of natural sounding speech. When a person decides to learn a new language, that second language will probably be difficult to understand at first, and the speech used by the student will be stilted and too formal in some cases for general use. The same idea can be applied to non-human translators and people who translate words when they don’t have true knowledge of both languages.
Much of what might be taught to a student of another language are formal introductions and types of formal speech, but these artificial and over-mannered ways of speaking don’t translate well. Extremely formal speech is appropriate for legal documents, courtrooms, and government communications, but even the most professional businesses will need to communicate in a natural style. It’s unlikely a potential customer would want to make a purchase from a company where the information offered sounded like it was coming from a grammar school student.
Word Perfect Translations acknowledges that the internet has opened up sales opportunities around the world, but not everyone understands the same language, therefore website translation is very important. Communicating important sales documents and advertising to potential customers must be done in a natural and authentic way. Automated translators and web-based programs do not handle this job with any finesse. For the best results, any business seeking accurate and readable translation should utilize human translators for natural and culturally appropriate translation.
Seamus Fenelon is a freelance blogger and writes mainly on business and marketing topics.