Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Translation Times are Changing

Over the past decade, we have seen a great many changes in the translation industry in the UK. Below are a few key points that translators and clients need to know these days:

Automated Software Translations

Everyone by now has used Google Translate (https://translate.google.com/), and there is no question that this brilliant service that Google provides has come in handy for all of us. For translating emails, enquiries, basic information, etc., there is no better automated, online, free translation system out there. Google Translate will only be getting better as the years go on. Now, inflating Google's ego aside - it must be said, this is by no means a professional translation, and cannot be relied upon in any way for any use in business, romance, professional communication or for any purpose other than simply to get a 'gist' of what the source text meant. If any translator is using Google translate for any part of their translation, they are simply not a professional translator. With that said, this does give an excellent opportunity for translation clients to sniff out and catch translation scammers by running their text through Google Translate and seeing how many similarities there are with the results and the translated text they have been provided with.

There are countless other free, online translation resources out there now, however Google has (as with so many other things they are involved in) emerged as the industry leader, and they will most likely retain that position for a very long time to come.

Software-Assisted Translations

There are several translation software utilities that, when used by professional translators, can actually increase the quality of the translation and also dramatically reduce the delivery time of the translation project. The industry-leading software is Trados. Referred to as "translation memory" software, the function of the software can be compared to an individual having a permanent, photogenic memory. Any paragraph or phrase that the translator has previously translated is stored in the "memory" of the program. When the translator comes across the same content in their next job, the previous translation will be 'suggested' to them. Therefore, the more work the translator does, the larger the "memory" becomes, and the less time-consuming future translations are. This is of course, only a tool, as the very same sentence, in different contexts, could in fact require totally different translation in order to retain the meaning. Trados is particularly helpful when large volumes of text have many repetitions (e.g. header/footer, table titles, etc..) If a translator is a professional Trados user, they will often quote in terms of "new words" / "repetitions", with a substantially reduced rate for all repetitions.

Online versus Real World

Long gone are the days when individuals would need to bring their documents to the office of a translator and wait for days until the translation is completed. Now, scans or even photos of documents sent via email are sufficient for translation purposes (even for certified translations) in most cases. Furthermore, as the world has been getting smaller and smaller, UK translators were once only based in the United Kingdom. There are now university-qualified English translators throughout the world. Many of whom live in countries where the cost of living is substantially lower than the UK and therefore they can reduced their rates substantially, still offering the same high quality translation services of their competition.

Translation Scammers

Now that Google Translate (and others) have become wide-spread, unfortunately so have the individuals and companies that are scamming unsuspecting clients (and translation agencies alike) by falsifying credentials and under-cutting prices of translation services, only to turn around and run the client’s documents through one of these online tools, ‘claiming’ to have performed the translation themselves. Two useful resources about translation scammers can be found here: http://www.translator-scammers.com/ and: http://www.proz.com/about/translator-scam-alerts/

As with any tech-based industry, translation will continue to morph and grow, and it is expected that translation software such as Trados will continue to improve, but there will always be a requirement for qualified, university-educated translation professionals to at the very least, proof-read the translation before sending it on to the client as a ‘done job’.

For further information about translation services in the UK or to request a free quotation for your translation project, see Translator UK

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