Be Human: Why Content Needs A Human Translator

Machine translation tools are getting better.

This can be great news for human translators, who – under the right circumstances – can sometimes use these savvy tech sidekicks as helping hands for their work.

Yet “helping hands” machines must remain - no matter how well-developed translation technology becomes. Indeed, it would be ill-advised to let them have the last word, as they innately lack a level of “humanness” that lies at the core of an authentic, quality translation - let’s explore this in more detail.

1. We “get” context and cultural sensitivities.

This is an advantage of human translations that cannot be underestimated. With each new language comes a bulk of new linguistic codes of conduct, that a human translator is trained to be well-versed in. In using a machine which doesn’t understand these codes, alternatively, you run the risk of offending or being misunderstood by the reader - which, I think we can agree, is hardly the desired endgame.

Literal machine translations stick out like a sore thumb where context and culture applies - an eloquent native speaking translator who is, further, up-to-date with your targeted language’s and industry’s terminology, is by far the most failsafe route to ensure your content is of top quality. Don’t risk it.

2. We understand a language’s nuances.

A human translator understands a language’s “special effects” - their metaphors, puns, slogans and further. Machines, similarly, cannot pick this up (again, due to their principally literal nature). This can make machine translations confusing, as some linguistic terms and phrases simply cannotbe translated directly from one language into another, though this is what a machine attempts. The content - simply put - needs “humanness”.

A human translator can think beyond the words on the page to the subliminal meanings beneath, and interpret the best way to translate a turn of phrase that’s specific to one language into another. This may include changing the way it’s “said” in the second language: a necessary evolution that is easy for a machine translation to miss, not being able to think beyond the words with which it’s fed.

3. Creativity and uniqueness can be lacking in machine translations.

Carrying on from that thought - that machines can’t think beyond their given content - machines also can’t be more creative with the words they have been given. This, again, is a role for the human translator. A human translator can embellish and tweak content they receive to make for an improved version of the original, strengthening your output to your new targeted demographic. If you stick to machine-only translations, however, you lose the potential (and benefits) of innovation.

4. Since the dawn of time, communicating with humans has been… well, a human affair.

We’ve been communicating among ourselves since societies were first forged. Naturally, we’re a lot better at emotively connecting with and understanding each other than machines are (after all, we’ve had thousands of years of practice ahead of them). Robots lack a deep, connective pull, and more often than not end up talking “at” the reader where they should be talking with and to them. It takes a human to strike that authentic cord which, ultimately, makes for more successful translated content.

Want your content translated in a way that really speaks to your readers? Contact our team today.

View other blog posts from: Mar2017