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Why are human translations still important in the 21st century?

Google translate might do the trick if you need to quickly understand the meaning of a foreign text, but it simply doesn’t cut it for companies who need to translate materials for their customers. Sentences will be disjointed, words will be out of place, and common expressions will be mistranslated. You can’t afford these careless mistakes in translated materials that can have a significant impact on your company’s reputation.

It is just more and more common to hear the words translation, localization, internationalization and globalization. With some 6,900 living languages, the industry of language services is a constantly growing sector that has almost infinite potentials.

With the modernization of IT tools, machine translations can seem to mean a real threat to those human experts who have been making a living out of doing valuable, quality translations for several years and are not only specialized in a language pair but also in a specific industry they translate for.

So the question may imply a complicated answer but in fact, it could not be more humble. Still in the 21st century we need human translations because:

  • Translations can’t be done word for word. It’s almost impossible to translate the meaning of a word without its context. Why? Think about the English language and how many words it has that have multiple meanings.
  • Humans are culturally sensitive – machines are not. What’s more, machines can’t translate tone and intonation…and this is what makes us, human beings so human.
  • Language continues to evolve. There is no computer program that can replace the translation and comprehension capabilities of a professional translator.
  • Humans can specialize in your field. You can even give your human translator a brief training session or review of company-specific terms and meanings if needed.
  • And last but not least…it’s cheaper on the long run. Not even talking about the disastrous consequences and possible loss of a big contract or an important client, even if you still insist on getting your translations done by machines, by the time you or your office employees have sifted through correcting, editing, replacing and removing, a qualified translator would have done the job three times as fast, leaving you and your team free to spend your valuable time on something else.

We do like Google Translate – for what it was made for. For all the crucial rest, luckily there are human translators.