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Translation Services and Technology

“A renewed international effort is gearing up to design computers and software that smash language barriers and create a borderless global marketplace.”

– Steve Silberman

The rate at which technology is growing in virtually every sphere of human activity today is mind boggling to say the least. During a video conference, you can see people located at the other end of the globe on screen, and it will appear just as if they are located right across the table from you in the very same room! The possibilities are endless. So it’s not hard to imagine a situation where your speech or written document, gets instantly translated into different languages so that the rest of the globe is able to instantly understand what you communicate. Machine translation services using appropriate software is aimed at just such an objective.

As Gary Anthes says in the Computerworld issue of August 13, 2007: “Language translation software isn’t likely to allow you to lay off your bilingual staffers — at least not right away. But applied with discrimination and lots of preparation, translation service tools can be fantastic productivity aids.” Applying computers to the task of translating texts between language pairs has been the endeavor of tech wizards in recent years. They have perhaps found the technique to be useful in certain specific domains like software, where text is repetitively used throughout the document, but this cannot easily extend to many other fields like literature and the sciences, the legal and financial areas.

If only it were possible to achieve that ideal match of phrases and idiomatic expressions between languages, it would be a boon to businesses and to scientific thought as there would be an infinite number of resources available to people from every walk of life.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the likelihood of this ever becoming a reality can only be a distant dream. The reason for this is that language has been developed over centuries of usage, and each human has his or her own unique way of using language to express ideas. The use of software in language translation services is limited because the output is always based on the input received and no two persons would even by accident use the exact same words or phrase to describe a situation or give expression to a thought.

Even dictionaries are being constantly being revised and updated as languages evolve. Thus the prospect of building and constantly updating a database with trillions of exceptions to the regular usage and rules of any given language, and then cross matching them between hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects that now exist, can only be in the realm of wishful thinking!

The creativity of the human mind is so limitless that to attempt to bring in figurative and literal accuracy to a translation service project requires a thinking human mind that applies itself diligently to the task. Today, the demands of business, science, technology and even philosophical thought, are so exacting that the essence of the text must be captured in its entirety by the translator so as to be able to render a faithful interpretation of the original thought.

Translation service providers who offer quality services are generally mindful of this requirement and have on their panel subject experts who can deliver the best possible translation results between the given language pairs. The context, the subject matter and area of expertise are all important factors that a translator will take into account while using his special talents to perform a translation services job to the complete satisfaction of the client.

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