Anyone who has the ability to speak and write a foreign language certainly has a useful social skill, at the very least. Since ancient times human beings have been communicating with people of other cultures for economic, social, and cultural purposes, and the skills that some scholars have in foreign languages has resulted in the translation of some of the world’s greatest literary works into a variety of international languages – benefiting nations worldwide. Even the treaties responsible for changing the course of history could not have come to fruition without a common language ensuring the parties involved were able to effectively communicate with each other. And so we know that both interpreters and translators have made an important contribution when it comes to the evolution of humanity.
Today we’re seeing great advancements in technology, and this includes the translation industry. The modern computer replaced the typewriter a long time ago, and now we have a series of tools that have been developed for translators to produce more accurate versions of source documents translated into a target language.
The Benefits of Computer-Aided Translation
Not only does computer aided translation provide better quality translations, it also reduces the amount of time spent working on a translation project. CAT (computer aided translation) tools, which can include word processing software like grammar and spell checkers, terminology managers, translation memory tools, concordancers, online tech dictionaries, and many others, greatly improve and assist the translator’s experience, leading to a quicker and more professional result.
Machine translation is a relatively new option, but because it’s not very reliable it’s not really an everyday tool used by professional translators; however, it is a tool that everyday citizens sometimes use. It must’ve been a difficult task creating intelligent software to assist translators, and indeed anyone wanting to get a translated version of a written or verbal text; however, so far, machine translations have proven to be unreliable when it comes to producing professional translations.
For machine translation to be used effectively, it’s imperative that the translator must be very familiar with both languages, because if they’re not, they won’t be able to detect the software’s shortcomings and thus won’t be able to recognize obvious mistakes. That being said, machine translations are great for people who use this software in a casual environment and on their mobile phones; with many users of this type of technology looking for a quick and easy way to complete their school language homework.
Not Good Enough for Professional Translations!
When you’re a professional translator you’re fully aware that producing an accurate and professional translation consists of a lot more than forming sentences by linking a certain number of words in a row, which is basically what machine translations do. The most important elements that make up a good translator are a thorough knowledge of language, sound translation practice, and ongoing professional development. The Computer Aided Translation tools that have today become part of the professional routine of every contemporary translator are not meant to teach the translator – they’re meant to help!