There are certain circumstances where a machine just cannot replace humanity. Language, in all its myriad forms, is one of the most complex functions of the human brain. Software-based translation is simple and not as sophisticated as the knowledge base of a native language speaker’s mind, despite the leaps in technology that this industry has experienced.

Language is more than a series of words.

Language is more than a series of words. It encompasses words, of course, but also the nuances of expressions, idioms, local sayings, word tense,and grammar as well as many other factors. There are many areas where a word-to-word translation is not effective.

This effect and the often amusing results was frequently seen in early versions when typing in a phrase, translating into another language and then translating the results back into the original language. The more translations, the more room there was left for error.

One well-known instance saw the phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” become “Invisible insanity” once translated from English to Russian and back. Even more hilarious are the linguistically mutilated electronics instructions often posted and reposted on the Internet.

While amusing as anecdotes and websites, this kind of error can potentially be disastrous for business.

While amusing as anecdotes and websites, this kind of error can potentially be disastrous for business. The errors produced by Google Translator and other free programs can be subtle and difficult to detect if you do not speak the language fluently. A small word inclusion or exclusion can completely change the meaning of a phrase. A simple grammatical error can be translated into a totally different idea.

The longer a passage or document is, the larger the potential for small but potent errors like this becomes. The damage to a corporate reputation can be serious and the ramifications for legal documents and contracts can be grim.

Make human translation your first choice

When you or your business requires precise translation, it is best to use a more thorough approach. Native speakers of a language typically have the best understanding of it nuances. Those who have grown up in a dual-language society or household are exemplary professional translators. Until another massive leap in translation technology occurs, free machine translators are no match for a skilled human.

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