If you’ve got some content you want translating you have two options – use Google Translate or get the content translated professionally. Both choices do have their benefits, but deciding on which one to use all comes down to what the purpose of the content is. Here we look at the pros and cons of Google Translate vs Professional translation…
For those that need fast or multiple translations, Google Translate is very appealing. Since launching over 10 years ago, it has built up a reputation for being the best online, free translation tool, with over 200 million users every day. It supports over 100 languages at various levels and can be the perfect tool for getting a quick translation whilst on holiday.
The pros of Google Translate are:
- It’s free – For those with no budget the free aspect of Google Translate is what draws them in. The tool costs nothing and compared to other free translation devices it’s often superior.
- It’s fast – Google Translate results are almost instant. As you type in your content, the tool will translate and results are delivered in a blink of an eye.
- It’s convenient – With the advancements in mobile tech it’s possible to access Google Translate just about anywhere on a smartphone.
While Google Translate can be a useful tool for translation purposes, there are drawbacks too:
- It makes mistakes – While the tool does translate words there are often mistakes, particularly with grammar, structure, and context.
- There’s no quality control – There’s no way for mistakes in translations to be reported. Of course, you can hire a translator to review the content but that can negate some of the benefits of using the tool.
- The quality varies – Less popular language pairings tend to be less accurate, so while and English to French translation may be usable, a translation from Thai to Basque may not be.
Handing over your content to a professional translator can overcome the negatives of using Google Translate. The pros of working with a translation company include:
- They’ll interpret the content correctly – Machines can translate language but they can’t interpret things like context, metaphors, slogans, idioms, and language nuances like people can. It means meanings don’t get lost in translation.
- Quality control – Any translation provider should have procedures in place, such as proofreading and quality assurance teams, to ensure accurate content that is free from mistakes every time. The best translation providers will have accreditations such as ISO 9001 which demonstrate their commitment to quality.
- Security – There have been many mishaps where companies have used Google Translate for confidential information, like company emails, which have then been leaked and posted on the internet. When using a professional translation provider, accreditations such as ISO 27001 show that the provider is committed to ensuring your data is secure.
- Transcreation – Transcreation is the process of adopting a message during the translation process to ensure the intent, style, idioms, context, and tone are all reflected accurately. Transcreation is a way of making the text more accessible to the audience by reflecting their culture.
- Multiple language pairs – Depending on your language needs you may need to hire multiple translators for each project. This can be overcome if you pick a translation provider that has access to translators around the globe with different skills.
As well as the benefits of working with a professional translation provider there are cons to consider when making this choice:
- It costs you – One of the biggest drawbacks for those with a limited budget is the cost. You will need to pay a translation company for their work but this doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
- Longer turnaround time – It can take some time to translate content and if you’re working to a very tight deadline it might not be possible for a translation agency to meet your demands. It’s better to plan ahead with this option.
Don’t get lost in translation – get in touch with Language Insight today for all your language service needs!
Excellent article, Rebecca! Another drawback of using Google Translate is that it translates literally, and the translated text sounds awkward, lacking fluency. Needless to say that people are writing worse and worse, and sometimes to make things clearer, you have to change the whole order of words and phrases, a task that Google fails to do.
Thank you, Luciana. Exactly, tools like Google Translate cannot interpret the meaning behind the text like human translation can. Thanks for reading!