Technology has always been one of the greatest tools at our disposal, but what’s the one place it’s more of a hinderance? Translation. Technology-derived translations are often wrought with mistakes, whether misinterpreting words or the actual meaning of the text. ASTA-USA Translation Services, Inc. employs the best and brightest human translators who have over a decade of business translation experience. They are native speakers and therefore understand not only the language, but grammar, sayings and the entire culture. Our skilled translators, not technology, are what sets us apart as the best of all translation services companies.
One of the latest trends in the translation industry is the increased use of online portals – some only as a central platform where documents to be translated are posted for download and returned the same way, others more elaborate where the entire translation is performed online and terminology stored for future projects. This of course comes with a barrage of benefits and drawbacks for translation service companies, customers and professional translators alike.
Let’s start with the obvious advantages: no more emailing back and forth (notification emails are automated), continued consistency if a translation memory is included, translations intended for web publication and performed online can be posted directly. If special software is used, like in subtitling for example, the portal creates a virtual workspace for all parties involved in the project, from the captioning editor to the final reviewer.
The downsides, however, begin with the most crucial part of all processes – communication. Our email is constantly at our fingertips, but if translators have to log on, download a file, then go back to the portal just to accept or reject an assignment, unnecessary delays can hamper a document translation project from the start. Email or instant messenger services like Skype are still a much faster way to exchange information about a potential assignment, review file(s) and confirm deadlines. Translations that are performed online frequently suffer from various software bugs and glitches or system unavailability, if too many projects are happening at the same time.
While the translation memory certainly is an advantage, the formatting becomes an issue because text is not shown in its final (or original) form but broken into pieces that are often completely out of order, interspersed with distracting code.
As technology is advancing and clearly providing major assistance in the process of translation management and translation itself – we don’t even think about the days anymore where documents were typed on a typewriter, sent out via mail service, translated using shelves full of dictionaries, although this was less than three decades ago – translation, in the end, still takes place by “carrying across” content and meaning from one language to another. And the best way to render a document, whether technical or legal in nature, whether it serves marketing or general business purposes, is to fully grasp it in its original context and follow its train of thought from A to Z. The door to any future lies in the depth of our understanding.