As a Language Service Provider (LSP), it is common to hear horror stories of machine translations (MT) gone wrong, or when a trusted colleague of a client left a few too many errors in a client deliverable that bring into question the accuracy of the translation as a whole. There is a time and place for Google Translate and for asking a trusted colleague for help. This article explains what translation options are best for which translation projects. There are five options to consider:
- Machine translation (MT)
- A colleague
- A specialist translator
- Edited MT
- A specialized LSP
Essentially, MT translates text between languages at the word level. It accepts only standard text documents and returns a largely word for word translation.
A colleague correctly translates meaning (and not words per se), and has specialized knowledge typically only in one language, thus using dictionaries when necessary.
A specialist translator is comparable to a colleague but also carries training and knowledge of a particular field in both languages. Translators typically can only handle standard text documents.
Edited MT is the leveraged use of MT output with a human editor (the same skill set as a translator) to produce a “human quality” translation.
A specialized LSP uses a team of specialized translators, editors, translation memory (TM) technology and a perhaps even an ISO process to produce a very high quality translation.
The best approach depends on the level of quality needed for the translation, as well as turnaround time. Cost is a function of quality and speed.
At the lowest level of quality is MT. Its usefulness is limited to circumstances when the document is a simple text file and the translation is for “gisting” purposes – when only the gist of the meaning is needed. If the output is incomprehensible, seek clarification from a colleague.
If consistent, high quality is needed, both a translator and editor (to review the translator’s work) are needed. At this point, an LSP is the solution for several reasons:
- It saves time finding both a competent translator and editor
- It saves time managing the translation team – especially if more than one language is needed
- Any file type can be handled
- Turnaround time is significantly reduced with the help of the LSP’s resources, both human and technical
- Costs decline with each additional project based on leveraging from translation memory
BURG Translations is a specialist LSP that has been in business for nearly 80 years. Our strength stems from cultivating an elite corps of translation professionals, from translators and editors to project managers and ISO quality management experts. Our aim is to leverage the latest technology to offer complete workflow integration, allowing us to offer maximum quality in the shortest time possible.