4 proven advantages of human translation vs. machine translation

4 proven advantages of human translation vs. machine translation

4 proven advantages of human translation vs machine translation

4 proven advantages of human translation vs machine translation

Why machine translation is not an option for accurate translations

The term Artificial Intelligence is on everybody’s lips, who deals with the translation of copy. It has undoubtedly made enormous progress in the past years. The biggest bonus which as a matter of fact seems to attract more and more users by the day is, that the biggest online players, such as Google Translate or DeepL, offer their services for free.

But, setting the cost factor aside, are the results of such online machine translation platforms really accurate for your translations? Do they really strike the right note? In this blog post, you will find out, why a machine translation just cannot replace a human translator and why you should always opt for human translation for the translation of your marketing materials and online presence. Here are the 4 advantages of human translation vs machine translation.

3 different kinds of machine translation

In order to understand what really distinguishes human translation vs machine translation and what skills are necessary to deliver accurate and authentic translations that convey your message to your international audience, I have listed the three types of machine translation:

  • Rule-based systems analyse the text to be translated (the source text) and translate it according to programmed language rules. i.e. dictionaries are linked with common terms, linguistic as well as grammatical rules.
  • Static systems are based on existing translations. The system scans the internet for existing translations. These are checked for suitable text passages in the target language and are then used by the system. 
  • Neural systems are the current further development of static systems and represent a new approach. The neural system learns via a large neural network. It is the most advanced method of computer-aided translation and uses artificial intelligence, big data and deep learning. The system continues to learn as it is used and trained.

Different areas of application

According to its design and suitability, each system today has its own areas of application. Rule-based systems, for instance, are used in technical documentation, such as assembly instructions and online help texts, or for traveller ratings in travel portals. 

Statistical systems, on the other hand, are used for example in Google Translate. These programmes require a large data amount as they search for translations of multilingual websites, which then form the basis for the programme. Possible areas of use are help pages of software vendors, travel websites, online shops or news sites.

Neural systems, on the contrary, can be used as the basis for professional translations and can help make the translation process more productive and efficient.

What are the risks of machine translation?

The main risk for the use of machine translation is the protection of your data. If you use publicly available online translation programmes, either online or via app, it is important to understand that all data entered is stored on the providers’ servers. Confidentiality of your data can therefore not be guaranteed.

Another crucial aspect for the quality of a translation is accuracy. The accuracy of machine translations does differ considerably compared to human translation. Unlike a human translator, a machine translation system cannot look at the context of a paragraph and performs a sentence by sentence translation based on the system defaults. As a result, context is disregarded entirely and, thus, translation errors are guaranteed.

If website operators rely on free services such as Google Translate or DeepL, the sole intention should be to gain an overall idea of the contents. A conscious decision to save costs before quality was made here. This inaccuracy may be acceptable to some people in exchange for convenience and cost. When the stakes are higher, as in business, law or medicine, a machine translation often falls behind the expertise and professionalism of a human translator.

What constitutes a good translation?

A number of aspects need to be taken into account for the translation of your text. What is the purpose of the document to be translated, the field or the client itself? Are you an expert in your niche, is your document a marketing text that is intended for publication or do you come from a specific field? Then a confident appearance in the desired language is extremely necessary for addressing the relevant audience professionally.

“Translation is that which transforms everything so that nothing changes.”

– Günter Grass

Taking a closer look at the supposedly higher cost factor for a professional human translation is definitely worthwhile. Did you hire a professional copywriter to write your original copy because you want to appear professional and convincing to your audience? Then the same level of professionalism should be applied to the English to German translation of the copy, because a bad impression caused by poorly translated marketing materials or a specialist text can have a massive negative impact on your international success in the long run.

In addition, a good translator translates into his or her mother tongue and usually specialises in a particular field. Consequently, he or she is familiar with the industry and has the necessary terminology. Clarity of the source text, which is a prerequisite for machine translation, and thus the creative limitation, does not apply to a professional translator. The recognition of ambiguity, the application of linguistic nuances and context consideration are striking arguments for a human translation. In addition, the translator adheres to the tonality and wording in the original text and combines this with a certain degree of creativity. In this way the translation becomes a text that does not sound like a translation, but as an original text that was written in that language.

The 4 proven advantages of human translation vs machine translation at a glance:

The 4 proven advantages of human translation vs machine translation

No good translation without context

There’s no doubt that Google Translate and the likes have their place. As a quick translation tool it can serve a multitude of purposes, such as a quick translation that merely aims at getting the gist of a text in a foreign language and that is intended for internal use only. The translation results are fairly decent. However, the quality of these online providers is not sufficient for a confident international appearance. Rather the opposite is the case.

Machine translation simply lacks the nuances of human communication. But in order to build a relationship with your international audience and make the text sound natural and authentic, you should always go for a human translator.

Here’s how to make the translation process smart and efficient.

Here’s how to make the translation process smart and efficient.

You have decided to work with a professional translator in order to have your texts translated for communication with your international audience. You have also already chosen the right partner according to your needs and industry and now it’s time to transfer the documents to your translator. But what does the translation process look like? It’s in everybody’s best interest that your collaboration is as easy and effective as possible, so let’s have a look at the translator’s workflow.

Preparation is key

A good internal preparation helps to streamline the translation process and greatly facilitate the translator’s work, and tremendously reduces the potential for queries, misunderstandings and thus correction loops. Above all, it reduces the time needed to complete the job considerably and you get your texts back and can implement them in a shorter time. This also means that your translator has more time for proofreading and polishing your translation, which will lead to better results. On the whole, this provides a win-win solution for all parties involved. In this post, you’ll find tips on how to make the translation process efficient.

The 5 different stages of the translation process

The translation process is divided into 5 stages:

  • Stage 1:    Creation of the source material
  • Stage 2:    Preparation for translation
  • Stage 3:    Transmission of necessary documents
  • Stage 4:    Start of translation
  • Stage 5:    Delivery of the translated documents

Provision of the source material

The first phase of the translation process is all about creating the source text. If you have not already done so, start building and maintaining a glossary or a list of the terminology used in your company. If there already are existing translations (your translator should match in tone/terminology), it’s always a good idea to make those available to him/her as well. Before the final version of the source text is released, it should be checked for consistency. Finally, the source text is in the same format as you would like to have the translated text delivered.

Preparation for translation

The document to be translated has been checked for consistency and is now available in its final version, as is the glossary. Do you have any additional information or style guides concerning your company’s brand voice, language and wording or even an overview of your business and your products/services? Please make them available to your translator! She/He can use them as a valuable source to make sure the translation matches YOUR brand and is absolutely right for YOUR company. Once the translation brief consisting of your type of content, target audience, expectations, delivery deadlines, etc. has been finalised, the documents are ready for handing over to the translator.

With the attainment of the first two stages of the translation process you have created the basis for a good and productive collaboration with your translator.

Transmission of necessary documents

The source text and all ancillary documents can now be sent to the translator for translation. The delivery time as well as costs have been clarified.

Please leave a message, if you’d like to receive the checklist. I’ll be happy to send it to you.

Start of translation

The translator has confirmed receipt of the documents. He checked them for completeness and possible formatting errors and had a close look at the source texts and the documents provided. While doing so, he made notes of any emerging issues to shed light on open questions before starting to translate. After having discussed the questions with you, the translator now proceeds and works his magic by providing a translation of your texts in accordance with your specifications, tonality and wording. Don’t worry if your translator still comes back with questions later or when delivering the files. Some issues only come up in the in-depth analysis carried out while translating the text.

The major advantage of working with a freelance translator is direct communication: the process is short-circuited and the risk of Chinese Whispers via a middleman is omitted. The translator receives the information directly from you without stray light losses and can start translating immediately. 

Another great benefit is that the translation, no matter how extensive the project may be,comes from a single source and is not split into different packages. Big agencies may forward parts of your text to different translators and merge them back together later on. While increasing speed this often causes problems as style and terminology used in the different parts may differ significantly.

Delivery of translated documents

Once you have received the translated document, it is advisable to check the file for completeness, formatting errors and possible ambiguities such as context or technical misinterpretations. Make sure to give your feedback to the translator at short notice. The translator will then implement any requested changes in the text.

Making the collaboration with your translator effective – and your public appearance consistent

By outsourcing the translation of your texts, you have already laid a sound foundation for a professional public appearance on an international level. Thorough preparation can make the translation process more effective by minimising queries from the translator and reducing waiting times. This makes the work so much easier for the translator. The direct communication also shortens the process considerably.

A further aspect well worth mentioning: The longer you and your translator work together, the more productive the translator can become as he will tune into you and your company over time. Finally, your public appearance will also benefit from his work as a uniform and consistent line of communication becomes recognisable.

Life after COVID-19: 9 tips on how to emerge stronger than ever from the corona crisis

Life after COVID-19: 9 tips on how to emerge stronger than ever from the corona crisis

Life after Covid-19: 9 tips on how to emerge stronger than ever from the corona crisis

Life after Covid-19: 9 tips on how to emerge stronger than ever from the corona crisis

In times of lockdown and social distancing during the corona crisis, a collection of terms that comes along with the crisis are looming over our heads: not a day in weeks has gone by without social media being plastered with posts about short-time work, curfews, homeschooling and economic losses. These losses can be perceived across all industries. However, one sector has been hit at its core from the week-long lockdown: the hospitality industry.

But slowly and gradually the lockdown and the restrictions imposed with it are being lifted in small steps: some children have already returned back to school but have to comply to certain regulations, large shops are now allowed to welcome customers again and from May 9th until May 22nd at the latest, according to Gastgewerbe Magazin, gastronomy and hotels in Germany are allowed to go forward with the step-by-step reopening after the corona crisis.

We are given an inkling of what it might be like to return to our lives before the corona crisis. And one thing is absolutely certain: there is a life after the coronavirus and the yearning to travel will rise again! Everybody will want to emerge from the crisis stronger and take up business as it was before the pandemic. In this article, you will find 9 tips on how to benefit from the standstill caused by the corona crisis and set the course for a successful reopening.

1. Change management in times of crisis

The current situation is daunting, and understandably so: hotels are battling soaring costs while being faced with empty beds and thus no income at the same time. However, now is the time to analyse existing processes and identify new potential. As a useful guide, Tourismuszukunft has developed a “Corona Roadmap” for the industry in order to identify new tasks as well as alternative paths.

2. Communication is key

Reaching out to your guests and keeping them informed about current or upcoming bookings in these uncertain times is essential. Clear communication can help you minimise losses. Therefore, try to postpone current bookings or turn cancellations into rebookings so that guests may return once the corona crisis is over.

3. Be flexible

Your guests are already going through a stressful phase due to the current situation. They will be worrying about their bookings and finances. Take away some of that stress by offering an easy way to cancel their bookings. If you flexibly adapt to their needs, it will leave a positive impression and they are likely to book with you again. Communicate this openly, for example with a section on free cancellations on your website.

4. Be present and nurture desire

  • Use the break inflicted by the coronavirus to revise your website and your social media activities and stay in touch with your target group. Are the texts and images on your website up to date? It could be a good move to have your website translated into other languages. This would allow you to engage with a much larger target group and to stay independent of the domestic market.
  • Create interoperable content for customer care and customer loyalty. By having translated your emails and newsletters for email marketing campaigns or your social media content, you give assurance and spread a positive mood. Especially on social media channels, travel publications serve as a source of inspiration and nurture desire. It’s not only about vivid pictures but also about the accompanying texts. Write engaging texts to reach out to a much larger, international audience. Tell them that you miss your guests and that you’re looking forward to welcoming them when you reopen again after the coronavirus.
  • Break new grounds in communication and create video content. Videos get the most attention on social media and are a superb way to authentically capture the atmosphere for your audience. You can even go that extra mile and have your videos transcribed or subtitled into other languages.
  • Speaking of languages: why not have your marketing material such as travel guides, menus, spa treatments, or even signs translated into different languages. This is a great way to show your guests that you care and that you want to make their stay as pleasant as possible.
  • You don’t know what to do with all those vacancies? Make use of them: express your gratitude and thank your local corona heroes by offering them a free overnight stay.  They deserve it. #hotelsforheroes

5. Focus on your loyalty programme:

Send a newsletter to your loyal customers, offer them rewards, or reduce the number of nights needed for a free stay. That way, your loyal guests will stay in touch with you.

6. Consider new paths and themes

  • Identifying new topics to market is a great way to address whole new customer segments. These could be, for instance, yoga retreats, reading tours, hiking, or cycling tours. You can put attractive packages with additional services together. 
  • Set up a voucher system with which future bookings can be purchased by vouchers. In this way, additional sales can be generated.
  • Traveling abroad will be ruled out by many. But since the majority still want to travel, people will look for domestic alternatives and have a staycation. So increase your local presence to attract local customers.

7. Invest in new technologies and services

Make use of the current pause in operations by investing in your services and technology so that you are ready for the upswing when it does arrive. Use this time to understand what your technology can do for your business. While occupancy will be low at the beginning due to reopening restrictions and reduced travel, you have the unique opportunity to make the stay of your guest much more personal. You can make their stay a one of a kind experience with exclusive dinners or special services. That will stick in their memory and they will return as loyal customers.

Quote to corona crisis

9. Learn from the crisis

The corona crisis and its devastating consequences came entirely out of the blue. Although there have been other pandemics before, think of SARS in 2002, H1N1 in 2009 and MERS in 2012, none has had such a limiting effect on our lives as the current corona pandemic.

As experts expect a second wave after the restrictions have been slightly lifted, precautions can be taken in order to be prepared when it hits again. It’s therefore advisable to commit yourself and your staff to procedures and tightened hygiene measures for surfaces such as bathrooms, door handles/knobs, kitchen and dining areas introduced during the first wave, and train staff accordingly.

Invest in the future and look ahead even in times of crisis

For your continued success, it is important not to surrender yourself to the current standstill, but to see the crisis as an opportunity. A constructive SWOT analysis of your strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats will reveal potential and paths which you had not considered before. The key to success is an open mind to novelty and the flexibility to accept and adapt to the changed conditions. Investing in yourself, in marketing and in customer loyalty will lead to a fruitful restart in the long term, even if it does not seem feasible at present. Stay positive, stay safe, save lives.