Translation services. What exactly are they and what should I look for? Why can’t I just use Google Translate? Translation, Interpreting? Aren’t they the same? It is all so confusing…
Let’s straighten it all out for you!
Translation, translate, translating...it all has to do with the written word.
Interpretation, Interpret, Interpreting…it all has to do with the spoken word.
We are going to talk about the written word and translation here and give you the basics, such as, why should you get documents translated?
Very simply speaking, if it was important enough to put it in English for people to take home, then you might want to have it in other languages for people to take home as well. If you serve a diverse population, it’s something you might want to seriously consider.
We had a large hospital system that was serving a large Arabic population and they saw a very small return in their patients in a certain department. When they translated their take-home documents, the return rate for the patients for follow-up visits increased 43%. That is not only huge business for them, but it speaks volumes in the healthcare for that community.
Why can’t I use Google Translate? (Or other free translation software?)
Have you ever put an English sentence into Google translate, let it translate it, and then have it translate it back into English? Try it. (But don’t use a simple sentence like I am hungry, or my car is blue.)
Software programs do not think about:
- Culture and how it relates to the translation
- Intent and what the words are trying to convey
- The Artwork that is involved and how the words relate or should be incorporated
- Context or homonyms (words that are spelled the same and sound the same but have different meanings.) If you have no context, you do not know if you are talking about an address where you are speaking about something or an address where you need to go
- Idioms that have very abstract imagery but deep meaning. Computers do not understand this thought process.
- Technical translation or slang may not be properly understood.
- Regional dialects may not be understood.
When you use a company for translation work you have a real person doing the translation and you have another person reviewing that translation for accuracy. If the software does the translation, who reviews the translation for accuracy? You do not know the language it was translated into. If you are using it for public, legal, or medical reasons, this could cause some issues if there are mistakes.
Translation companies make sure your documents are formatted correctly and that they match what you sent in. (As best they can depending on the language added to artwork.) If you send in a booklet or manual, you’d like it to have a standard look, that can be accomplished if a person reviews all of the translation work in all the languages.
Using a company allows you to secure certified or notarized translations. You do not always need these types of translations, but when you do need them, you want to know where to get them and have a relationship with a company.
If you are on vacation and you need to translate something while sightseeing, Google Translate or any other free translation app is perfectly fine. You just want to be careful about using it in the business setting.
Now that you know the difference between translating and interpreting, you can reach out for the best product to support your organization. Read more about our translating and interpreting services and what they can do for you.