Thinking about expanding your business to a new region?
One way to accomplish this is by offering your blog in a new language, specific to your intended audience. Educating and entertaining people in their native language can help keep them engaged and this boosts retention, sales, and subscriptions.
Keep in mind – translating your blog is not right in every circumstance and you should always talk to a qualified translation provider regarding what parts of your site should be translated first to reach the maximum amount of customers.
Regardless, whatever you do, don’t resort to machine translation tools. Human translation always leads to better output. Machines are certainly getting better but they still have a long way to go to match their human counterparts.
Still not sure about the advantages human translators offer? Read our list below and discover the many ways humans beat machine tools.
1. Higher Accuracy
The goal is to provide your blog in different languages. This should help your content cater to people who normally don’t read in English and increase the likelihood that they subscribe to your email listing or make a direct purchase. However, you won’t hit this target if your translation isn’t accurate.
You could end up with costly mistakes and embarrassing moments of ineptitude. Consider the time Google Translate changed the “Rapini Festival” into the “Clitoris Festival” and how this impacted the town’s city hall.
Google Translate and other machine tools simply don’t always identify the correct words or phrases.
In the above example, Google mistakenly took the word “grelo” as Portuguese when it should have identified it as Galician. The term in Galician refers to a spinach-like vegetable, but when taken from Portuguese and back to Spanish, the translation was less than stellar.
You don’t want issues like this in your blog, especially if your goal is to boost conversions. Human translation works around issues like this by identifying a language based on its context and target demographic.
When you run a blog post through machine translation tools, what’s the guarantee that the translation is correct? What’s the guarantee that the tool didn’t make any mistakes such as the one mentioned above?
The sad truth is there is no guarantee. There’s no level of quality assurance. You have to double-check by hand, often relying on a human translator that you probably should have spoken to from the start.
While MT plus human editing can sometimes lower costs, using a machine first and human translation to edit can take more time depending on how poorly the machine translation engine performed. The editors might have to focus on correcting the initial output and this wastes time. They could instead start from scratch and edit as they go.
Translation pros always audit their work. The initial draft gets done by one person or a team and this gets checked by a QA team. Sometimes, the final output goes through one more check to avoid cultural errors or mistranslations and to make sure everything is in a proper context.
3. Context Consideration and Cultural Differences
Let’s talk about context.
In the US, the story about storks delivering babies to parents is quite common. You’ll see it in kids’ fairy tales all the time. In Japan, however, this is not the case and they have stories about babies arriving on giant peaches instead.
This might seem like a small difference but it can lead to a marketing disaster. Pampers in Japan infamously tried to sell diapers with storks on the cover but this didn’t turn out well. It was only after their sales dropped that they realized the cultural context of a stork didn’t mean anything to Japanese consumers.
Machine translation can’t identify the context in a given phrase. It translates every word from a literal point of view, never taking into consideration whether it fits the rest of the blog post. Human translators can easily identify contextual differences.
It’s not about direct translation. It’s about localization, which refers to converting something into another language while also taking into consideration cultural and contextual differences.
Interested in more tips for translating your website? Download our comprehensive eBook.
4. Finding Alternatives
There are times when a certain phrase has no direct translation. There might be no way to convert the sentence word-per-word into a new language. When this happens, machine translation tools simply have no idea what to do and the phrase pops up as an error message.
Did you know the words gobbledygook, facepalm, and spam (in terms of email, not food) have no translations in other languages? How then will you translate a phrase referring to facepalming or an abundance in spam mail?
When comparing technology vs human translation, this is where the latter shines brightest. Humans don’t always have to make direct translations. Instead, they have to work around context and available words to conjure a phrase that captures the same meaning and essence as the original sentence.
Going back to spam, someone translating it into French might have to retain the term in English or convert “spam” into a phrase. They could use a phrase referring to “fake email.”
5. Avoid Costly Mistakes
When you look at the cost of machine vs human translation, the former is undoubtedly cheaper. You could spend as low as $20 per million characters. Human translators often charge per word and this can increase your initial cost output.
However, don’t take this at face value.
If you resort to purely machine translation, there is always the possibility of errors flooding your blog posts. Some of these errors might turn out offensive to a certain demographic. This leads to two problems: your blog gets ridiculed and you also lose potential customers.
Mistakes can also force you to go back to the drawing board and start all over. Now you have to spend twice for the same translation job. Avoid this issue by hiring professional translators!
6. Better SEO
Translation via human ingenuity can also boost SEO efforts. Say you want to offer your blog in Japanese. Instead of using Google Translate or other tools, let humans do the job so they can make sure the blog posts and on-page details all hit specific SEO goals.
Now you can guarantee that the title, meta description, and blog itself all carry essential keywords that the new target demographic might search for. Don’t settle for quick translation; make sure your content still satisfies search engines.
Get the Best Human Translation Services
Human translation is always going to be better than machines, no matter how good they get.
Machines don’t put things like SEO or cultural differences into context when translating a blog post and they certainly don’t consider conversion rates or the demographics of the readers. They directly translate word-for-word.
Reach out to professional human translators to get the job done for you. Not only can this boost the efficiency of your blog but it can increase conversion rates too. Get in touch with us and find out how qualified human translators can help your business.
Nick joined the team in 2017 to spearhead Argo’s expanding marketing initiatives. He graduated from North Central College in Naperville, IL with a BA in political science and a minor in global studies. Previously, he worked as a digital strategist for innovative marketing agencies in Chicago and as a political consultant for domestic and international clients in Washington, DC.