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AllGraduates

All Graduates

All Graduates is a privately owned translation and interpreting agency specialising in providing services to government, community and corporations in Australia.

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The dangers of crowdsourced translation services

Today, there are more than 7,105 languages being spoken around the world*. Any business that is transacting internationally will soon cross paths with one or more of those languages.  Finding a reliable source for interpreting and translating can sometimes be a challenge.  Finding people to accurately translate highly critical or sensitive information in often multiple languages can be both frustrating and expensive.  There are times when a company has to produce a high level of translation productivity that it is seemingly impossible to cover everything.  This is why so many companies have opted to use translation technologies to get the job done.

How can a business person be confident that the translation is accurate, conveying the meaning with clarity?

Are translation technologies practical?

How reliable is machine-generated translation technology?

Are there any other risks that may be involved in this type of translation?

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How reliable are machine translation services today?

It is true that this machine interpretation software is growing exponentially today. These types of open source translationtechnologies are popping up everywhere.  There is no doubt that they are fast and convenient and provide some level of terminology management. Still, when you are dealing with sensitive issues, one mistake can be extremely costly.

Machines by virtue of their mechanics are not equipped to apply human judgment, discretion, or reasoning.  The result is that they can often be inaccurate.  In cases where the translation produced is an incoherent group of words there is little danger of the product being used however, the larger risk is when the translation error is very subtle. The result can have an impact or your pricing, return on investment or even the overall quality of your message.  Using these inaccuracies can be extremely risky.  Lives, careers, and financial status could all be at stake.

Are there other risks involved?

There are also other issues that you may not have even thought of concerning machine translations.  Take the case of Google Translate, a very convenient and free online translation tool.  Google uses Localization maturity intelligenceThis is a method where they take information gained by using their products and use it to help other companies or markets. Also called crowdsourced translation, they take the information from one source and share it and the result with anyone that may be interested.

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Many users of the service are not aware that every sentence sent to Google Translate then becomes the property of Google.  While in most cases this is not a serious issue, for legal, medical, or business issues the concern of confidentiality is foremost. The bottom line is that once Google has your content within their possession there is literally no possible means of you knowing how they will use it.

There is no question that in today’s technology driven world the use of machine translation services will increase.  However, in many cases they cannot become a substitute for human thinking, analysing and reasoning.  Human skills are needed to make sure that you have complete terminology management controlwhich requires more than structural word for word changes but creativity, cultural knowledge and flexibility in their thinking process.

Those who choose to use these automated crowdsourced translation services and rely on their online translation memoriesshould understand that there are clearly inherent risks involved in miscommunications and infringements on confidentialities.  Companies needing translation services should take all this into consideration before deciding to use one of these programs.  Live human translation is still the best choice when dealing with personal, sensitive issues where conveying the most accurate message is of critical importance.

* as referenced at www.ethnologue.com

 

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