Pros And Cons Of Human Translators


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With the emergence of the internet over the past decade, the world has become a global village with more people jumping on the bandwagon and being digital. There are over 7000 languages spoken in the world today, with English being a language spoken globally by a great number of individuals. This mere reason has led to the translation service, being sought after by many people who would love their content to cut across the boarders and accessed by more people who are not native speakers of their original languages. The demand for translation jobs is literally skyrocketing. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts, during the period 2012-2022, jobs in the translation industry will grow by 46 percent. Regardless of whether it’s a translation for personal or business purposes, the need is growing remarkably as days go by. With advancements in technology over the last several years, there are different options available to get your translation completed, including machine translation, which is a translation from computer software and also human translation, which is the translation by professional human translators. Machine translators have several advantages, however, today, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of using human translators. The quality of software translation is still no match when compared to the translation by humans.

Many people prefer using human translators compared to machine translators. We will look at why that is the case, and also why it might sometimes end up not be the best choice.

Advantages Of Human Translators

  1. Better Quality Translation
    • If you want accurate and quality translated documents, then it is advisable to get human translators who have a high level of experience. You can or outsource the services to professional translation companies that offer experienced human translators. This is better than using machine translators which are often inaccurate and more times than not, provide translations are out of context, usually word-for-word translations. 
    • If you are planning to have serious professional documents for your business translated, then I would advise you to get a professional human translator who will ensure that you get a high-quality level of translated documents. They make sure that the documents are accurate and have the same context as the original document.
  2. Expertise of Language
    • Many people are of the belief that machine translators usually offer a vast and versatile level of expertise with languages, and I beg to differ with this. It might be true that machine translators can work with more languages as compared to human translators. The thing with human translators is that the level of expertise that a human translator might have on a specific language is usually incredible and chances are they would offer more accurate translations with this level of expertise and avoid a lot of mistranslations as compared to machine translators.
    • Since machine translators offer word-for-word translations, it is very easy to miss the context of a particular document, unlike an expert human translator who works on the same document. If a human translator is really an expert, then you will get the best translation service there is in the world.
  3. Creativity
    • Have you ever tried learning a new language? If yes, then you know how hard it is to learn a language from scratch and end up being great and an expert at it. However, if your answer was no, then you do not understand the level of difficulty behind the whole process. The reason I say this is that it takes a lot of time for someone to use a foreign language creatively and be able to offer translations that are vast and extensive. 
    • Human translators can get creative when translating because they are used to the language, they are working with, and they can get creative by experimenting with words, which is something machines translators have no capacity to do. Though machine translators can often translate the meaning of the subject at hand, they lack this creativity. Human translators have an extensive understanding of the language, making them a great fit for the language.
  4. Sensitivity to Culture
    • One important thing that a lot of human translators always take into consideration that a machine translator can’t or doesn’t are the cultural aspects of the languages.
    • We all know that cultures are not the same across the board, and the way certain words used in a certain culture might mean something different or even offensive in another. Human translators know that this is a very important aspect when translating documents, and so they are very keen when working in different languages. This is not the same thing with machine translators, which usually do straight forward translations without taking things like cultural values into consideration. Without understanding the culture of the people who speak that language, it becomes very easy to offend them when interacting with them. This might be a huge blow for a businessperson who is trying to introduce their business to a different culture. Therefore, working with a human translator who is a professional and understands this aspect is the best thing to do.
    • Working with a professional human translator will not only ensure that you have perfectly translated and accurate documents but will also make sure you get detailed expertise of the languages in question, creativity and versatility in how the language being translated and sensitivity to a lot of cultural values that machine translators rarely look into. With this, we will avoid taking risks when doing translations for official and business purposes.

Everything with advantages usually has a fair number of disadvantages, and we will go further ahead and look at the limitations of using human translators. As we all know, the need for translation services is growing at such a fast-paced speed and this has impacted on how human translators operate.

Limitations Of Human Translators

Below are some limitations that you might experience when using human translators:

  1. Slow Speed
    • In terms of speed, machine translators take the first position, hands down with no competition. A normal human translator can translate about 150 to 200 words in an hour. If the same translator is working on a 1000 words document, it would take him or her approximately 8 to 10 hours to finish that document minus breaks and editing. If you compare this with a machine translator which might translate a document with 1000 words in an hour, then it’s easy to see why using a human translator might be a limitation.
  2. Higher Cost
    • Normally getting a human translator to work on your documents, depending on how long the documents are, is very expensive. While using a machine translator you can work on as many documents as you want and you won’t end up using as much money as you would if you had to pay a human translator to work on your documents. If you really want to use human translators for a huge project, then it is usually advisable to handpick the most important documents to and translate them using human translators and get the other batch translated by machine translators.
  3. Confidentiality Risks
    • When working with documents that are highly confidential, it is usually hard to keep them confidential if you work with a human translator, something that would be very easy when working with machine translators. Outsourcing anything carries the risk of your secrets getting leaked. To be on the safer side though, you can opt to get the human translators but ensure that you have them sign NDAs.
  4. Time and Resources to Find the Right Translator 
    • If you have never looked for a translator for a particular project, then you do not understand how hard and tedious it is trying to find a perfect translator for a particular language. Depending on which country you live in and the target language you are trying to translate to, then it really gets tough trying to get translators to help you out with a project.
    • If that is easy enough you also have to get one that has an extensive understanding of both languages and is still skillfully and has substantial knowledge in translation. You need to look at very many factors before choosing a translator, whereas with machine translators it’s not as hard.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the pros and cons of using a human translator, I’m sure making a choice on what works well for you won’t be a hard task.

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