How Much Should You Really Rely On Translation Apps?

How Much Should You Really Rely On Translation Apps?

by Dan

We are all familiar with some translation apps We have either used in our language classes, travels, or even for the sake of curiosity on what word means in another language. However, translation apps can only take you so far but if you need professional translation, then a translation agency is your answer. Of course, yearly development of technology and software, translation apps have indeed come a long away. You might ask why hire a translation agency when translation apps can do it all for you?  Have you considered whether translation apps are reliable for long and meaningful conversations? Can you use it for long and complex documents? Here’s a useful article telling you to what extent can you use translation apps and also when do you need to use the services of a translation agency. 

Translation Apps 

When talking about translation apps, Google Translate will always be in the picture. Who could blame them? It is the most widely used and accessible translating app there is. It can translate over 100 languages from Afrikaans, Haitian Creole, to Zulu. iTranslate is also another major player among translation apps. It’s format is similar to Google Translate as a search engine for words and accurate phrases. TripLingo is also an extremely popular translation app but is formatted differently compared to Google Translate and iTranslate. Tailored to travelers, TripLingo has a database of local customs and etiquette for the country you have in mind. 

These three translation apps are among the many translation apps you can choose. You can find apps tailored to your needs and specifications. In addition to variety, translation apps showcase versatility by having support on dozens of languages. Software is being updated constantly and new features are rolling out every single time from plain text translation to voice recognition to even image translation.  However, as convenient as it all sounds, can it entirely replace human translation? What are the pros and cons of app translations compared to human translation? 

Human Translation vs App Translation 

App Translation 

Select translation apps have premium subscriptions that give you extended access to select features. Still, for most translation apps, it is essentially free. The main selling point for translation apps is convenience. Once downloaded to your mobile device, it is fairly easy to use. You can get results within seconds. Some, including Google Translate, even feature offline capabilities. This is especially useful for situations in places where internet access is not readily available.  Another fantastic feature is the voice-recognition ability on select apps. This allows you to have relatively passable real-time conversations as the app translates both parties.

Even with revolutionary software developments in translation, as far as accuracy is concerned, it is still limited to translating short phrases. If you’re a backpacker and a survival understanding of a language is all you need, then translation apps will suit you just fine. But, in regards to the depth and consistency of translation, it varies across apps and languages. Translating relatively metaphorical phrases would often result to literal translations that makes no sense in another language. In other words, translations apps do not have context comprehension. It cannot also translate yet regional vernacular, dialects, slang, puns, idioms, and metaphors as accurately as one might like. 

Human Translation 

Translation apps are only suited for casual settings. For translation that requires completely accurate translations on complex texts such as academic writing, technical writing, creative pieces, and even legal documents, then you would need to hire a professional translation agency.  They strictly employ professional native-speaker level translators all over the world to provide you with 100% guaranteed accuracy every single time. Since they are humans and not machines or software, they understand the context of the document.  

Since they are native-speakers, they also are familiar with linguistic and cultural differences pertaining to each country and region. In other words, they can localize and tailor content specifically for you and other unique idiosyncrasies. Although translation services are not as cheap as translation apps and certainly not free, the quality of service they provide is indispensable. It’s actually one of the many occupations that machines and A.I. are most unlikely to takeover even with the steady development of translation software.

Final Takeaway 

There is a translation service for everyone; backpackers, travelers, businessmen, academics, lawyers, you name it. What matters is that there is a service suited for everybody and for every situation. In fact, no one should have to tell you whether you had to strictly choose between a translation app or a translation agency. Why not use both when you need them right? If survival understanding of a language is all you need, then by all means translation apps are among the best resources you can use. However, for critical documents and other translation work that require a human touch, reach out to a reliable and affordable translation agency.

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