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Should I Outsource My Translations Or Use a Free Tool?

INSTRKTIV Blog - Other topics

In an increasingly interconnected world, the demand for accurate and efficient translation services has soared. As technology advances, online tools like Google Translate and DeepL have emerged as viable alternatives to traditional translation agencies. While these tools offer convenience and speed, a critical question arises: Can they effectively handle the translation of high-quality technical content, such as user manuals? This article delves into the contrasting realms of traditional translations through agencies and the utilization of machine translation tools. Arguing from the standpoint that machine translations should not be solely relied upon for technical content, we explore the role of these tools in the post-editing process, highlighting the crucial importance of human expertise in achieving optimal results.

The advantages of using machine translation

Using machine translation for translating a technical user manual can offer several benefits compared to a translation agency.

Machine translation can be a more cost-effective option, especially for large volumes of text. Translation agencies often charge per word or per hour, whereas machine translation can be more affordable or even free, depending on the available tools.

Also, machine translation can provide rapid translation results, especially for straightforward technical content. It eliminates the back-and-forth communication and coordination required when working with a translation agency,

The benefits of using a translation agency

There are several reasons why using a translation agency for the transition of a technical user manual is beneficial compared to relying solely on machine translation tools. Here are 10 key reasons.

#1 Accuracy

Translation agencies employ professional translators who have expertise in specific subject areas, including technical fields. They can accurately convey the precise meaning and context of technical terms and jargon, ensuring the user manual's accuracy.

#2 Quality assurance

Translation agencies have a dedicated quality assurance process in place. Translations undergo rigorous proofreading, editing, and review by experienced linguists and native speakers, guaranteeing a high-quality final product.

#3 consistency

A translation agency can maintain consistency in terminology, style, and formatting throughout the user manual. This consistency is crucial for technical documentation, ensuring clarity and ease of understanding for users.

#4 Contextual understanding

Machine translation tools often struggle with understanding the context in which words and phrases are used. Professional translators can grasp the intended meaning behind technical content and produce translations that accurately reflect the original text.

#5 Cultural adaptation

A translation agency can adapt the user manual to the target audience's cultural norms and preferences. Translators with cultural expertise can make necessary adjustments to ensure the manual is culturally appropriate and resonates with the intended users.

#6 Specialized knowledge

Technical user manuals often require domain-specific knowledge. Translation agencies can assign translators with expertise in the relevant technical field, allowing them to accurately convey complex concepts and ensure the manual's effectiveness.

#7 Industry standards and regulations

Technical industries often have specific standards and regulations that user manuals must adhere to. A translation agency familiar with these requirements can ensure compliance and help avoid any potential legal or regulatory issues.

#8 Confidentiality and security

Translation agencies understand the importance of confidentiality and data security. They have measures in place to protect sensitive information during the translation process, ensuring the user manual's content remains secure.

#9 Localization support

User manuals may need to be localized to cater to specific markets or regions. Translation agencies can provide localization services, adapting the manual's language, units of measurement, and cultural references to suit the target audience, enhancing user experience.

#10 Post-translation support

Translation agencies often offer ongoing support, including revisions, updates, and maintenance of translated materials. This ensures that any changes or improvements to the user manual can be seamlessly implemented across different languages.

How to use the benefits of machine translation

While machine translation tools can be useful for quick and basic translations, technical user manuals require a higher level of accuracy, precision, and cultural adaptation that can be best achieved by relying on the expertise of a translation agency.

However, machine translation software can be useful for post-editing purposes. That way, you combine the best of both worlds.

This article has been written with help of ChatGPT, and has been fact-checked and edited by Ferry Vermeulen


ferry vermeulen

Ferry Vermeulen

Founder of INSTRKTIV and keen to help users become experts in the use of a product, and thus to contribute to a positive user experience. Eager to help organisations to reduce their product liability. Just loves cooking, travel, and music--especially electronic. You can also find him on:
Profile PageLinkedin, Instagram and Twitter!

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