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. It’s good for a quick translation that merely aims at getting the gist of a text in a foreign language. 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. For building a relationship with your international audience and making the text sound natural and authentic, you should always go for a human translator.
Reaching out to a greater audience has never been easier. We’re living in times when information is at people’s fingertips. A large amount of people is connected 24/7 and consumers have adapted to the digital world. They expect the same from travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, and other businesses in the tourism sector. The key to success lies in increasing your visibility for foreign guests 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:
assess market players and market conditions
overcome language barriers to communicate in your audiences’ languages
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 is where localisation comes into play. 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. 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, but 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. The parents go online afterwards and start looking for possible options.
Anticipation starts right here!
The parents will decide 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’s hard to navigate or confusing, they might be put off immediately and go for another option.
A traveller’s emotions vary significantly while going through the different stages. They experience excitement peaks during lead-up and arrival and feel fulfilled once they’ve returned home.
So, sparking the customer’s interest when they visit your website is essential. The user-experience you provide on your website and the amenities you offer play 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? Not only will this make a poor impression, but it will also make the customer feel less 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. A survey of language preferences conducted by the Harvard Business Review revealed that 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?
Customers want to get an impression of what they can expect from a stay at your accommodation on 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 looker’s attention and will lead them to stay longer?
#4 Increased Conversion
Providing a multilingual website with the native language of your target audience will increase your direct bookings. 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. Find out more about how to increase your visiblity and direct bookings with my complete guide for hotel marketing.
I know I’m repeating myself here, but translating your content into another language with an online tool is one thing. However, attaching the same importance to the translation as to the original copy 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 a looker turned into a booker because your content hooked them? They felt welcome, understood, and most importantly, were in joyful anticipation about their next holiday?
#5 Image boost
Providing a multilingual website and content for your international guests not increases your online visibility. It also leads to increased engagement with your audience on your social media channels. Your followers get to know you and your values and a trusted relationship can form in the long run.
Another great benefit of multilingual content is the improved communication with your guests. Bridging language barriers for your guests makes them feel valued. They appreciate you going that extra mile to make them feel welcome. People are much more inclined to book with you, if you provide a convenient booking process for them.
Turn former guests into brand advocates
The holiday is over and your guests have returned home. They’re full of happy memories and everything went to their complete satisfaction during the holiday. Chances are good, that they’ll spread the word to friends and share their experiences online. This opens the doors to new potential guests.
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
A year of being firmly in the hand of the corona crisis has passed. We’ve gone through several lockdowns and social distancing is part of our day-to-day business. A collection of terms related to the corona crisis are constantly looming over our heads. I think not a day 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 lockdowns: the hospitality industry.
But slowly after months of lockdown, the restrictions imposed with it are being lifted in small steps. Children are returning back to school but have to comply with certain regulations, hairdressers and garden centers have opened again. Shops are waiting and hoping to follow suit. A reopening for hospitality seems to have returned within easy reach in April – at least in the UK. Gastronomy and hotels in Germany, however, are still waiting for a clear perspective to reopen.
We are given an inkling of what it might be like to return to our lives before the corona crisis. And one thing’s for sure, there’s an unabated desire to travel! The closer the lifting of the restrictions is getting, the more this desire will be set free. Everybody will want to emerge from the crisis stronger and get their helping from the enormous cake. In this article, you will find 9 tips on how to 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. Tourismuszukunft has developed a useful guide “Corona Roadmap” for the industry to identify new tasks and 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.