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:
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.
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.
Start of translation
The translatorhas 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.
Reaching out to a greater audience has never been easier. In times when information is at people’s fingertips and a large amount of people is connected 24/7, consumers have adapted to the digital world and expect the same from players such as travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, and other businesses in the tourism sector. Apart from the quality of services and the destination itself, the key to success also lies in increasing your visibility for foreign customers by providing compelling content. In other words, showing up with a multilingual website and content in a sector depending on internationality is a prerequisite.
Here you will find 5 benefits of a multilingual website & content.
#1 New markets
The aim of accessing untapped markets is to reach a whole new set of customers and thus increase sales. But doing your homework in advance is essential: apart from assessing the market conditions and market players, you need to overcome language barriers by offering your content in the target audience’s language, as you want to attract new customers. However, poorly translated content can turn your splashy entrance to a new market into a dent in your reputation that might be hard to restore. The key is avoiding linguistic pitfalls through proper localisation. This means that the content is not only translated but also adapted to the culture and traditions of the target market.
Another reason for international expansion can be diversification. The aim here is to diversify assets and to reduce your dependency on a single domestic market. As a consequence, diversified market presences allow you to better offset global market fluctuations. For instance, companies with international operations can offset negative growth in one market by operating successfully in another. In addition, different markets hold a strong potential for certain offers of yours: people of culture A might not be the biggest fan of a specific offer whereas people of culture B might love it!
Communication is all about building trust. It is crucial to know that customer service already starts when a potential customer or guest visits your online presence.
Imagine a family of four sitting at the dinner table and discussing where they want to spend their next holiday. Everyone is excited and they brainstorm possible destinations. In the end, several destinations are thrown in the pot and the parents go online afterwards and start looking for possible options.
Anticipation starts right here!
In the process, the parents will break down the options depending on their budget, the amenities and attractions that will make theirstay worthwhile and memorable. But it also depends on how they experience your website! If it is hard to navigate or confusing, they might be put off immediately and choose another option.
A holiday can be broken down into5 stages of travel, the individual stages being booking, arrival, the stay itself, departure and back home. A traveler’s emotions vary significantly when going through the different stages, experiencing excitement peaks during lead-up and arrival and a feeling of fulfillment once she/he has returned home.
So, sparking the customer’s interest when they visit your website is essential. The experience the customer has when browsing your website and the amenities you offer plays a crucial part in the decision-making process. Do you already have a multilingual website? How much effort did you invest in the translation? In other words, has it been translated professionally or quickly with an online translation tool? Is it correct in terms of spelling and grammar or is it full of errors, both in spelling, grammar and context? Not only will this make a poor impression, but it will also make the customer not feel valued.
“Communication is all about building trust.”
Communication plays a vital role in building trust among your customers. This is even more important during the corona pandemic. Attaching the utmost importance to rebuilding trust and instilling a sense of safety and security in your customers is fundamental.
So, let us dive into customer behaviour with regard to country- and language-appropriate content. According to a survey of language preferences conducted by the Harvard Business Review, the success of your online customer experience is determined by how quickly and painlessly guests find country- and language-appropriate content.
“How quickly and painlessly guests find country- and language-appropriate content, will determine the success of your online customer experience.”
Harvard Business Review
These are the survey’s results:
Hence, what do we learn from these results?
The customer wants to get an impression of what she/he can expect from a stay at your accommodation when visiting your website. Your competitors’ offer might meet the same requirements as yours, but maybe they also went that extra mile and offer their website in various languages. Which website, do you think, will catch the customer’s attention and will lead her/him to stay longer?
Furthermore, the user experience plays a decisive role that should not be neglected: it ranges from your multilingual website to your multilingual booking platform – all of which are crucial factors that round off the customer’s impression and experience when visiting your website.
#4 Increased Conversion
Providing a multilingual website with the native language of your target audience will increase your conversion as visitors will not only be attracted by their search results, but will also spend more time on your website. Consequently, this will boost your online visibility as well as sales since it is a positive ranking factor for Google.
Please don’t forget though – and I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself – that translating your content into another language with an online tool is one thing. Having it translated professionally, attaching the same importance to the translation as to the original text, is a completely different ball game which will make all the difference:
Another study revealed that the number one factor for purchasing a holiday online is the “excitement tourists experience while booking their next trip”. The use of emotional and creative language in their native tongue is the winning factor.
Wouldn’t it be great if the customer booked a stay with you because your content hooked and made her/him feel relaxed, understood, and most importantly, left him in joyful anticipation about his next holiday?
#5 Image boost
Providing a multilingual website and content for your international guests will increase your online visibility and will also lead to increased engagement with your audience, for instance on your social media channels. By following you, visitors will get to know you and your values and a trusted relationship will form in the long run.
Another great benefit of multilingual content is the improved communication with your guests. Bridging language barriers for your guests will make them feel valued, because you are making an effort to make them feel at ease and welcome. Keep in mind that people are much more inclined to book with you, if everything is as convenient and free of hassle as possible for them.
Once the guest has returned home and everything went to her/his complete satisfaction during the holiday, the customer will also act as a brand advocate by spreading the word to friends and sharing her/his experiences online.
Be international in an international industry
If you don’t think that translating your content is important, consider the following: unlike some other industries, the tourism sector operates in almost every corner of the world and in every language possible. In an age where being online 24/7 is regarded as normal, connecting with your target audience by speaking their language is eminent for you as a tourism business. This is something that can only be achieved by a translation expert specialising in tourism and hospitality who is able to apply the necessary language skills and cultural knowledge.
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.
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.