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Google Translate? Babelfish? The Risks & Benefits Of Online Translation

Thanks to the Internet, more and more companies are starting to expand their products and services globally. Companies that were […]

Thanks to the Internet, more and more companies are starting to expand their products and services globally. Companies that were only reaching a small local niche are now able to fill orders across the world, making business more profitable but also causing a major need for translation services.

Companies that are now going global need their website, catalogs, brochures and other marketing collateral translated into different languages, forcing them to try and find a translator, and since companies don’t like lag time with their marketing, they need professional translation and transcription services that provide excellent quality and fast turnaround.

Companies looking to translate content have two options: they can hire a professional translator, or they can use a translation software program or website such as Google Translate or In order to make a more informed decision, it’s best to look at the advantages and disadvantages.

Google Translate Babelfish

The following are the pros and cons of using a professional translator.

Pro: It’s a real person.

Having a real person translate your content can be much more beneficial for your business than having a computer program do it. Real people can translate your content so that it makes grammatical sense and generates the same points as your original content. When you use a computer program or website to translate your content, you will typically receive a verbatim translation, which means that your content will not make grammatical sense to your readers. If your audience cannot understand your content, it’s going to be ineffective and make your company look bad.

Con: It’s more expensive.

There are plenty of translation websites that will translate your content for free, but you’re never going to find a professional translator willing to work for free. You are going to have to pay a professional to translate your content, and even if it’s a low amount, it’s still more than using the Internet. But, if you believe in the adage, “you get what you pay for”, maybe forking over some money for a translation is a good way to spend your money.

Pro: You can discuss issues or questions.

When you work with a professional translator, you have the ability to actually talk with them. You can share your needs and desires with them about the translation, and you can even discuss any issues or questions you may have about their translation of your content. This allows you to receive answers and can put you at ease about the quality of your translation. When you use a software program, you cannot talk with anyone about your needs, and if you have questions, they will forever go unanswered.

Con: Turnaround will be longer.

Many companies choose to use computer programs because the results are instantaneous. As soon as you input your file or content, you receive results. When you use a professional translator, you are going to have a longer turnaround time. They will need to physically read through and translate your content, and this will take much longer than a few seconds. If you’re extremely pressed for time, this could put professional translators at a disadvantage.

Pro: They can handle larger assignments.

Some computer programs or websites have a character or file size limit. If you have a large amount of content that needs to be translated, such as your website or even a book, a computer program may not allow you to translate the entire thing. Instead, you may have to pay money to upgrade to a different version, or you may have to submit your content in sections, which could end up causing your content to become disorganized.

Professional translators can handle any size file and any amount of content. It doesn’t matter if you want them to translate one sentence or an entire novel, they will be able to do so without causing you any headache.

Con: Confidentiality could be breached.

If you are working with confidential files, putting these files and this information in the hands of a stranger can be dangerous. The last thing you want is for your information to get leaked to the wrong people and cause havoc for your company. If you’re going to place confidential information in the hands of a professional translator, it’s a good idea to run a background check first and have them sign a confidentiality agreement. Doing this can protect your company from damage.

Written by Hailey Burbank

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