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Like many other industries, professional translation has undergone a major shift thanks to modern technology. The increasing ease of learning about culture and language alike, not to mention opportunities for machine translations, present both challenges and opportunities.
When you engage a translation agency for their services, your relationship will likely be affected by this technology in a variety of ways. The more you know about that influence, the more prepared you will be to work together in order to achieve a successful, long-term relationship with consistent, quality output.
To get to that point, it’s paramount to understand exactly what influence computer technology has had on the industry. Here are 3 of the ways in which it has impacted our work as professional translators.
1) A Broadening Global Market
Thanks to the internet, translation is no longer a regional business. A company in Bangladesh can reach out to a translation agency in Boston, asking for an accurate translation of a document from Bengali into American English and vice versa.
That global market, in turn, has led to an increase in translation quality. If you have to rely on a local agency for accurately transposing a given document into another language, you have to know that the professional in charge will not only know the language, but also its context.
We’ve written in the past about the importance of cultural context in quality translation. Being able to hire globally means increasing your chances that you find professionals who understand both languages and both cultures in question equally well.
2) Competition Drives Quality
Of course, the same broadening market has also led to increased access for translation professionals to market their services. Online marketplace enable them to find clients easily and without having to spend significant funds on self-promotion and marketing.
From an individual’s perspective, that increased access may seem worrisome. But from a global and client perspective, it means one thing above all: better translation quality. Because clients can and will find alternatives if they are not satisfied with one professional’s work, the impetus to provide high-quality work continues to increase.
3) Human-Driven Technology Assistance
Finally, modern technology has led to another important development that is at once problematic and beneficial: Computers are increasingly able to assist in translating written content.
Unfortunately, that development has led to a reliance on technology that can quickly become unhealthy. You only have to try out Google’s Translator tool to know that while machine translation can be helpful for individual uses, it does not provide the in-depth, exact professional translations a business needs. Relying on machine translation to accurately translate your documents will not end well.
At the same time, the same technology can be used to improve the work of translation agencies, as long as the human touch remains. Taking advantage of Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) software, professional translators can improve their work and ensure correct grammar, spelling, and terminology, while still touching it to ensure that the finished document is accurate and the context is right. Technology does the ground work, while translators do quality control and put the finishing touches on it.
In short, technology has influenced the work of modern translation agencies in a variety of ways. An expanded market has led to both increased opportunities and competition on a global level. Meanwhile, assistance provided by machines can be both dangerous and helpful, depending on how you choose to take advantage of it to improve your translations.
In this technology-driven environment, it’s paramount to work with an agency that will use it as an advantage, not to the finished product’s detriment. To learn more about how we use technology to assist and improve our translations without replacing the important human touch that ensures quality and consistency, contact us.