Translation technology has multiplied enormously over the past five years, largely thanks to tech giants like Google and Microsoft. By combining their hoards of data with machine learning, the biggest names in technology are able to create translation algorithms that learn by themselves. More importantly, they are developing apps that people carry around in their pockets and have access to on a daily basis.
This is only the consumer side of the spectrum, however, and translation technology is actually making its biggest impact in how it helps brands engage with these consumers in a globalised business world. Not all translation technology is created equal, either, and there are three types of software today’s brands need to know about.
#1: Machine translation for quick results
Machine translation is the kind of technology you will find in Google Translate and similar tools that provide an instant translation of content. The important thing to remember with this kind of software is that you are not going to get perfect results and even the most basic of content can cause problems for machine translation.
Highly creative or complex pieces of content can render machine translation almost useless, but the technology can be a great tool for quickly getting a first draft or rough translation of content.
As long as you understand the technology’s weaknesses and know you are not going to get perfect (or even particularly good) translations, this kind of software can provide an instant first step. Imagine how much of a difference this can make if you have got a series of 30,000-page studies that need translation.
#2: Translation memory for cutting out the repetition
Something that becomes very apparent once you start translating content is how much repetition naturally takes place. Of course, great content should not repeat itself unless it’s absolutely necessary, but there are plenty of situations where repetition is unavoidable.
For example, a brand’s slogan is going to be repeated across hundreds or thousands of different pieces of content. Likewise, the instructions manuals for different versions of similar products (e.g.: same brand TVs) are going to have huge amounts of repetition and the same thing goes for food packaging, bulk email marketing campaigns and all kinds of project types.
In these scenarios, translation memory (TM) means you do not need to have the same piece of repeated language translated multiple times – not only saving time and money, but also improving consistency across each piece of content. The technology works by storing all of your translated content as individual words and sentences and automatically inserts these translations into future documents where repetition exists.
This means your translators never waste time doing the same work over and over again and you get 100% consistency, no matter how many translators are working on your project – or how long your project runs on for.
#3: Translation management systems for making complex projects simple
Modern brands need a huge amount of content translated across multiple projects that can comprise of dozens or hundreds of campaigns at any one time. For example, an international brand could have multiple TV advertising campaigns running for half a dozen different countries – and this is before you include online ads, content marketing, social media, documentation, contracts with retailers, legal translation and more.
Managing all of these projects can be a complex process and translation management systems (TMS) provide a single platform where everything can be managed and accessed by you and your translators.
This way, you always have a centralised view of how your translation projects are coming along while any potential issues are flagged up and easy to see before they start causing major problems. It also gives you a platform to communicate with your language project managers, make changes to workflows and ensure every piece of content is ready to deploy when you need it.
While tools like Google Translate might be the most famous examples of translation software, they are not the pieces of technology that are actually making the most impact upon the industry. Human translation is still essential to getting the kind of accuracy and creativity any translation project requires, but the best language professionals know how to use the latest technology to get results more quickly and more reliably.
Our team can help you implement the latest industry innovation into your translation process. Get in touch with them today to find out how translation technology can benefit your business.