Today, there are many online automatic translation systems that allow you to convert texts from one language to another straightaway. However, the quality of the result cannot be compared to that of a translation agency, especially if a language as complex as Chinese is involved.
Reasons not to use an automatic translator
Automatic translators are useful tools when you need to know the approximate meaning of a text quickly, for example, when you receive an email from a foreign client and want to know what it says.
However, it should be noted that neither translators nor linguists are involved in machine translation. In a machine translation, the machine searches for sentences which are similar to the original ones in a huge database, and suggests those that it believes are closest to the originals. However, its suggestions cannot be verified and neither can it be confirmed that they were written by a native speaker. It is therefore very likely that the translation contains serious grammatical errors or errors in meaning. Furthermore, these systems do not offer any kind of confidentiality or quality guarantee.
Google Translate, for example, uses texts it finds on the Internet to carry out the translations it is required to do. And, as we know, it is common to find all kinds of errors on the web.
For this reason, for any type of document, but particularly for official or public ones, it is important to use the services of a translation agency that guarantees quality and fidelity to the original text.
Why? Here are some of the main reasons:
1. An automatic translator does not guarantee the quality of the text
Despite having improved a lot over the years, machine translation has not yet reached an optimum level of quality. Language is complex and constantly evolving, making it very difficult for a machine to interpret all the nuances of human communication.
If you have ever used an automatic corrector to translate a text, you will have noticed that the result is often not easy to understand and contains syntax errors, etc.
2. Machine translators do not understand synonyms
One of the main problems with automatic translators is synonyms, words that mean several different things. Machines find it difficult to interpret what the meaning of the word is in a particular context. Errors such as these can have dire consequences.
3. Technicalities are an obstacle in automatic translation
On many occasions, when technical translations or specialised translations in a particular field are carried out, there are inherent technicalities or jargon, which machine translation finds it difficult to translate correctly. A good knowledge of, and even experience in, the sector is needed to be able to translate texts correctly and use the corresponding terms in the target language.
A machine can never match the ability of a professional translator who also has knowledge or experience in fields such as legal and medical etc.
4. A bad translation can lead to a loss of credibility
A bad translation can lead to a loss of credibility, especially in the case of well-known brands, and can result in consumers deciding not to buy your products or services anymore. For example, in the case of mobile applications, many have failed in certain markets because the translation of the texts was very poor and prevented their correct use. Therefore, before carrying out an automatic translation, think carefully about where the text is going to appear or how it is going to be used.
Have your Chinese translation done by a native speaker
Mandarin, commonly known as Chinese, is a very complex language. It consists of 85,568 characters and 370,000 words. Each character in turn is usually made up of at least two overlapping characters (one defines the meaning and the other the phoneme).
Therefore, when translating texts into Mandarin, you need to know the characters that represent the meaning and those that define the phoneme, as well as their multiple combinations, in order to find the correct word.
To decipher or write Chinese characters you also have to memorise each stroke; not an easy task, as in some cases there can be up to 18 lines in a single character. The task of writing is simplified with computers; however, there is no alternative but to learn every single character in order to recognise them.
Chinese is therefore a challenge in translation and the best thing to do is to have a native professional who can guarantee the quality and accuracy of the translated text.
Your questions and answers about Chinese translations
Yes, at Alphatrad UK we have native professionals who understand both languages perfectly and can translate texts from many languages to Mandarin Chinese and vice versa.
You cannot test the quality of translation using an automatic translator, but; a translation agency guarantees the quality of the texts and uses computer systems to ensure the accuracy of the content.