We’ve all heard the stories about companies and organisations that have used Google Translate for their marketing materials, websites, brochures, etc and later regretted it. A recent example of this is the Santander tourism board, which used the term “historical helmet” on its website to refer to the city’s historical centre (casco histórico in Spanish). A poorly translated text can be toxic to your business, making you lose credibility as well as clients. Here are 5 reasons why you should always choose a professional translator over Google Translate.
1. A professional translator understands the function of a text
A professional translator understands the purpose of a text. While it’s true that an automatic translator such as Google Translate can communicate the gist or general idea of a text, only a professional translator is capable of understanding the context, idioms, nuances, and metaphors.
Furthermore, a professional translator’s version will always be more accurate and coherent, which is something of the utmost importance.
2. Cultural awareness
There is more to translation than merely translating a text from one language to another. A professional translator should have a profound knowledge of both the source and target language cultures.
Often, some terms don’t have an equivalent in the target language, especially if they refer to objects, customs, and habits that are specific to a particular country. For example, how would we translate the term “Christmas pudding” into Spanish when we know that it is only really eaten in the United Kingdom, Ireland and a few other English-speaking countries?
3. Access to terminology databases
A professional translator will often have access to one or various CAT Tools (a computer program that helps translators translate more accurately and efficiently).
They will also have multiple glossaries and terminology databases at their disposal. The purpose of these glossaries and databases is to improve the accuracy and consistency of the terms in a text. The translator will work with you to create a specific glossary, ensuring your terminology is used consistently throughout the translated document.
Translators have a reputation for being perfectionists and will often go to great lengths to find the correct translation of a tricky term.
What’s more, they will have access to their own glossaries, specialised dictionaries, style guides, translation forums and, of course, their colleagues, who can offer them a second opinion.
5. Being bilingual doesn’t mean you know how to translate
Professional translators are writers who know how to produce well-written texts. They are capable of producing a text that looks like it was written in the target language, is faithful to the style of the source text and uses adequate terminology.
Your cousin who spent six months studying Spanish in Seville will not have the same skills as a professional English-to-Spanish translator.