Why Human Translation Experts are better than Machine Translators

June 27, 2013 by admin

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The trend of using machine translations has made its mark in recent times. It’s a service that is free and available online anytime.  Nothing really compares when you need a quick reference right there and then for a few phrases or sentences.


Its efficiency, therefore has led most businesses to believe that machine translations are a reliable and cost effective solution, not just for simple sentence translation but for voluminous documents as well. This assumption however, is a simplistic view on how the translation process works. It overlooks the reality of how languages behave and how the environments they operate in influence them.


Languages in any shape or form are like living and breathing ecosystems, if you will. Depending on the historical time frame, languages operate on differing levels of tones and nuances. They are greatly affected by the intent of the person writing the document, as well as the intended audience or recipient of the message. How one language is used today will differ from how it was used in the past. While the foundations of a language may remain the same over the centuries, linguistic styles evolve over time.


Within one language alone lives layers of meaning and usage – business communication differs from the way the same language would be employed in a creative field. Daily conversational language may or may not incorporate “slang” and even regional differences as to linguistic styles exist.


To this effect, current machine translations are equipped to provide translations only in the context of modern times. Human translators, on the other hand, are simultaneously able to evaluate multiple factors: context, audience, communication style as well as historical period, if relevant, in order to provide a translation of the highest integrity.


A case study is a German translation project we undertook. It was a series of diplomatic telegrams in the 1900s that documented critical communication across several countries in Europe. Had a machine been used, the machine’s reference point would be modern German instead of the way German was used and spoken in the 1900s. The machine would also have produced a politically correct translation.  Both factors thereby would have resulted in the loss of message authenticity.


To this end, the project translators relied on the context and German language structures almost a century old resulting in a translation, which preserved the integrity of the communication. The translation was rich – not just because it provided an understanding on what was said at that time, it also conveyed the emotional intent and undertone.  Having captured the cadence and rhythm of the period, the properly referenced translation was a snapshot into the intrigue and veiled communication of a diplomatic circle of a century past.


Translation fidelity therefore, is the ultimate factor in evaluating the success of a project. It is critical that your choice of service provider has a proven track record in this regard. While translation machines are effective to a certain degree, none of them currently are programmed to analyse the multiple factors and nuances that professional translators work with on a daily basis. As of this time, clearly, the human factor still soundly defeats the machine.


Rosetta Translation is the premiere provider of global business translations. We specialise in legal, executive, financial, pharmaceutical, scientific and academic translations. With a global network of sector practicing translators, the quality of our translations, speed of response and our customer service remains second to none.


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Andreea Mohan

Taylor Wessing LLP

We are very pleased with the services provided by Rosetta Translations. They always send very prompt responses, transparent prices and deliver their work product at the highest standards.

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Jackie Brook, Sr Product Manager

American Express

Thank you very much for your prompt and efficient service.

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Conor McLarnon

Maximus Crushing and Screening

I have translated multiple projects with Rosetta now and I cannot emphasise how great the service they provide is; quality, turnaround time and pricing is the best I have found yet. The qualities of translations we receive are of the highest standard and communication from the start of a project to the end is consistent.

For a company looking into translations, I would highly recommend Rosetta as first pick, as the support and service they provide is first class.

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