Amateur Versus Business Translation Services

by : Armando Riquier

One of the most devastating mistakes a company can make when seeking services for business translation is eluding payment of a fair price for their project. This attempt may be in the form of offering the job to a bilingual employee that can use the extra money, or purchasing translating software. Worse yet is the use of free software for important business translation demands. All such unnecessary errors amount to the down falls of employing computerized and/or amateur translators and interpreters.

Non-Professional Translators

To truly illustrate the drawbacks of not contracting persons capable of quality business translation, a real life example is in order. A nation wide provider of medical insurance in the United States made two of the previously mentioned mistakes in attending to their business translation needs for their Spanish speaking beneficiaries. First, one of the bilingual customer service representatives was approached about the job of translating English material into Spanish. This agreement, as is the case with most informal agreements, lacked very specific time requirements for project completion. Meanwhile, the insurance company's Spanish speaking customer base continued to go without service in their language. In an attempt to remedy this, management turned to the team of bilingual customer representatives to work on the job as a group project. This only proved to be more chaotic due to the different dialects and educational levels of the team members. Disputes over vocabulary led to ill relations within the team and, ultimately, halted the project and the company's need to serve their non-English speaking customer base. None of these problems and setbacks would have occurred had the company simply realized the need for professional service to handle their business translation needs.

Automated Translations

Computers are wonderful for rapidly completing many difficult tasks--business translation is not one of them. Why? Anyone who has ever used translation software, can attest to its inability to comprehend a language. This is mainly due to the use of 'idioms'. Idioms are phrases established by usage whose meaning is not literally based on the words used. For instance, English speakers, when repeating the words of another person, will often say, "and then she went..." making use of the verb 'to go' as a replacement for the verb 'to say'. Imagine the erroneous translation that software would render in this case; moreover, imagine the problem a company would have if reliance was placed on software for business translation.

Assessing your Business Translation Needs

Company Managers should assess each business translation project separately. Generally, a bilingual employee is not the best choice for a time consuming job. Large projects can also distract from his regular duties. Nevertheless, relatively small projects may be handled smoothly by an employee, and carries the advantage of insider influence. Remember, the worker should have the educational background needed to provide grammatically correct translations and speak the dialect of the customer base targeted.

Automated translations should be avoided for important business translation needs. Software was not created for serious jobs.