“Translation is not a matter of words only: it is a matter of making intelligible a whole culture.” -Anthony Burgess
With the recent globalization of the marketplace, it would only be apt for businesses—whether big or small—to hire professional translators to stay relevant in the industry and to have an edge over your competitors. Furthermore, having an employee skilled in professional translation guarantees that the business and company reaches a wider market. However, with the proliferation of mobile and desktop applications boasting of their translation and interpreting capabilities, is there really any merit to hiring a professional individual solely for translation work? You might argue that CATs (Computer Assisted Translation) tools are more practical and economical as compared to hiring an employee. However, the most that these tools can give you are vague ideas about what you are trying to translate—not concrete translation work. Vague ideas and a gist of what you are trying to say just would not cut it when it comes to foreign correspondence that concerns your business.
Apart from this, here are other good reasons why a professional translator is very much preferred over CAT tools:
1.) Translations cannot be done word for word
Translations involve more than just words. It also deals with context, nuances, grammar, and syntax. More often than not, you cannot translate a sentence word for word, and there will also be times wherein there is no accurate translation for a particular word. At the most, you have to get the connotation behind it to come up with a closely accurate translation. CAT tools can hardly deduce the context of a sentence, and if they do, the result is often haphazardly done you will end up with miscommunication problems.
2.) Humans are culturally sensitive
An increasingly globalized marketplace would place emphasis on speaking to international customers at a local level for better comprehension and understanding. Should you want to market your services and products, international marketing would be vital, and this would be more effective when done in the local language they know. If you want an edge over your competitors, do not simply rely on the mere translations of websites which would sound uninspired, unexcited and at worst, may even give the wrong message. A professional translator can capture your target audience’s interest better by coming up with better, exciting and dynamic captions.
3.) It is cheaper in the long run
You might think that installing a CAT software would only take a one-time payment and that the expense of getting your documents translated by a professional would be more costly. However, in the field of business, you must remind yourself how communication is paramount and that anything that can be misinterpreted can significantly cost you. Losing a multimillion dollar deal? Sending an unintentionally insensitive message? These are the things that could potentially lose you money. With a professional and human translator, you are saved from all of that.
If you insist on using CAT tools for translation work, at least use in conjunction with the skills of a human translator. Remember, computer tools were designed to assist people in their work and not to completely replace them.