Why are translations so important?
I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you why - after all, you know why. You knew why when you went in search of a translator, and fortunately, you somehow ended up here. And yes, we all know the ‘basic reasons’: business is getting increasingly more global, the Internet has eliminated borders and shortened distances, and to remain competitive, companies and organisations have to make themselves understood, all over the world.
- Human rights/NGOs
- General correspondence
- Fiction/Short stories
- Newspaper/Magazine articles
Can’t find what you’re looking for in the far-from-exhaustive list above? Don’t be shy - just ask! My CV is available upon request, and provides details on the types of translations I’ve done over the years.
Corporate Social Responsibility
ABK Translations supports the following charities/humanitarian organisations:
- Amnesty International
- Doctors Without Borders
- Nederlandse Hartstichting
- Red Cross
- War Child
I also do pro-bono translations for charitable causes on a regular basis; please contact me for further details.
Machine translation: to GT or not to GT?
‘Man versus machine’ is one of the most hotly debated topics these days in the translation industry.
Many people outside the translation industry aren’t fully aware of the pros and cons of using machine translation to translate their text, seeing instead only the benefits (free!) of just putting a text through (insert the name of your favourite online translation machine here) and having it instantaneously translated it into the desired foreign language. Presto! Your text can be translated into an ever-growing list of languages.
To be sure, there are certain advantages to machine translation and definitely applications and uses for which these machines are ideally suited. A quick happy birthday in Japanese to that friend from university on Facebook, or a quick translation of a menu item while you’re in a restaurant on holiday in the South of France, using an app on your smartphone. There are even sophisticated translation machines that are known to produce very accurate and reliable translations of certain types of texts. Major multinationals producing huge volumes of content that must be translated into a variety of languages on a regular basis and at a high speed rely on machine translation in order to keep their operations running smoothly.
Most, if not all, of these should however be checked by a human translator or editor. After all, language is rife with ambiguities, double entendres, hidden meanings and other ‘traps’ which machines simply cannot always see or decipher.
Another downside to using free online translation engines involves aspects of privacy and confidentiality. Don’t forget that everything you feed into the machine is stored on its servers and databases, putting your (or your customer’s) privacy at risk since, theoretically, it may be accessed by the public. While many translators sign confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements with their customers, machine translation engines do not offer such protection. You are essentially allowing them unlimited use of your personal data.
One good way to see how suitable an ‘over-the-counter’ translation machine is for your purposes is to input your text into one of these machines, and then ‘back-translate’ it. In other words, reverse the process; input the result in the machine to translate it back into the original language. This will usually produce a few giggles, but it will also show that not all texts are suitable for machine translation.