Updated: Jul 18
With the assistance of machine translation applications like Google Translate or AI-powered solutions like the highly-discussed ChatGPT that you can easily find available on the internet these days, it has become a lot easier to go the DIY (or do-it-yourself) route whenever you need something translated, whether it's a personal message to your friend or even a website copy.
The question then is, should you?
Unless it's a one-word or short copy for casual communication where accuracy is not important, the answer is "no". If it is for your business, you should definitely seek outside help so that you can professionally and accurately translate your promotional materials, documents, and even things like terms and conditions or product manuals.
Why should I engage professionals?
The truth is, there's plenty of room for errors or mistranslations if you choose to translate the texts on your own, even if you have the language capabilities to do so.
Sure, maybe you can save on costs, but looking at the bigger picture, you're actually spending more of your time and effort which can otherwise be used on some of your more important tasks instead, like going out to meet clients and preparing your pitch materials.
By outsourcing your work to professionals who do this every day, what you gain in return is quality translation and time saved. You'd have effectively saved yourself from all of the trouble and potential headaches of translating your text into a language that you're unfamiliar with and reduced your risk of communication pitfalls.
With that said, here are four reasons why it's best to engage a professional translator rather than to do it on your own:
Quality copy. Professional translators are excellent linguists with the skills needed to deliver your copy to you accurately, and in a timely manner. With so much experience under their belt, they'll be able carry out the translation seamlessly and produce superior results that you wouldn't be able to find elsewhere or create on your own.
Application of correct industry terminologies. Professional translators often specialise in their own industries, which means that they'll have an excellent grasp and understanding of the technical terminologies used. You wouldn't have to worry about incorrect or inaccurate terms, and your targeted audience will have a much easier time reading through the text rather than being confused if they've been translated wrongly.
Experience in language and culture. There's language, and there's also cultural immersion with professional translators, as they are not just well versed in the language, but the cultural and social norms as well! It's always important to make sure that your copy abides by local regulations, requirements and social norms so that it resonates well with your targeted audience, and professionals who have plenty of experience in them would serve you well in this area.
Accuracy through quality control. Professional translations undergo a quality control process so the copy that you'll have translated will be accurate and free of mistakes that you may make on your own from spelling and grammar to punctuation.
An accurate translation doesn't come naturally. It comes with a quality control process, where a translation project is assigned to two different translators—one to translate, and another to proofread the translated content. The feedback from the proofreader is then passed back to the translator to facilitate a discussion to produce the right translation based on client requirements. Sometimes, the translation has to go through a couple of rounds of reviews and tweaking before it is ready for use.
You may hear the term "native translator" often in the translation industry. Often, what this means is that the translator working on the project is working in their dominant language, usually known as native language or mother tongue. However, depending on which translation agency you work with, native translator can mean that the translator is working from a language they are native to, into their less adept language. How did this disparity happen?
Actually, it is not hard to imagine if you think more about it. There are benefits to both sides. If a translator is working out of their native language, they understand the source text better and are less prone to misinterpretation of its meaning, whereas a translator translating into their native language expresses themselves much more fluently.
At Wei.Trans.Create, we sometimes pair translators working in the same language pairs on projects in the translator and proofreader roles, for instance, pairing someone stronger in English to Chinese translation together with someone stronger in Chinese to English translation. This provides checks and balances in the translation process.
Translation as an investment
All in all, consider translation as an investment in your business expansion. In businesses, you make investments that will be beneficial to you, and this would be yet another one of them. Entering a new and unfamiliar market with an unknown working language can be a daunting process, but by working with strategic partners for your language needs, it'd guarantee a much simpler and easier journey for you.
If your brand is going global, and you're looking to translate your copy to communicate effectively with your new potential customers, reach out to us because we've got a team of experts ready to help you with exactly that! We'll listen to what you need from us and translate your content and copy to suit the target market of your choice, based on your requirements. Drop us a message here whenever you're ready to get started.