The perils of online translation
CTC has been online since the launch of the web. The web is a showcase for millions of companies, including ours, and our use of this showcase has fundamentally changed our lives.
The web has quickly become a gold mine of information for professional translators, allowing them to enhance their work productivity and quality. As a result of the abundance of lexical information online, the web has overtaken print references as translators’ main resource.
The development of Termium and GDT, later followed by the no less useful Linguee, has been a blessing for Canada’s translation community and for French-speaking communities worldwide. Today, these powerful and high-quality tools are known all over the world.
CTC provides an online translation service
At CTC « online translation » is an operational mode, it doesn’t refer to the faulty (sad or funny, depending on your viewpoint) translations produced instantaneously by online translation applications.
What is our version of online translation ?
It means that our main terminology resources are online, our databases are online, and our translators can translate or edit documents online. The fact that our translation processes occur mainly online helps align work and resources, which results in optimal productivity for the team..
The web is a vast multilingual network that is now home to powerful applications that can translate content with a single click, including :
- complete web pages ;
- content you enter online.
What about quality and its impact on brand image ?
The fact that online translation services such as Reverso, Google Translate, Lexilogos, and WorldLingo, to name only a few, allow us to understand in just a few seconds content drafted in a language unknown to us is certainly an excellent development. These applications are a generous gift to all of humanity, and we’re certainly happy to have them.
However, no software or program is yet able to produce truly faithful translations. No application is able to match the depth and subtlety of human translators, who are still the only completely reliable source of translation.
No computer-based translation system (Babylon, Systran, and others) can produce error-free content in terms of syntax and grammar and certainly not in terms of semantics. Despite impressive technological progress, meaning and interpretation are still best handled by people.
And we’re not even talking about SEO translation or translation in the fields of art and culture. These projects involve severe challenges that algorithms and other sophisticated mathematical applications cannot meet.
Translation is the result of linguistic efforts
Translation is a very complex linguistic discipline that strives to capture and communicate ideas and, as in advertising, feelings.
Like other language professionals, translators deal with semantics. Are you familiar with the word? Semantics is about meaning; and meaning is a complex thing to capture. Try this. Think of a pun and have translated it by an online translation tool. The result will be catastrophic. Why? Because software can fulfil only a very small part of the mission entrusted to translators.
While online translation provides a general understanding of content in another language, professional translation required by business, government, and not-for-profit organizations can be produced only by flesh-and-blood human translators.