Does Translation Accuracy Matter More, or Speed?

When your business grows rapidly, taking your web presence global will likely be a big part of that expansion. Although it may be tempting to use machine translation to get your content to an international audience quickly, prioritizing speed over translation accuracy may not be the best when trying to achieve long-term growth.

These online tools can capture the essence of what you might be trying to say, but they can never capture nuance or correctly translate colloquialisms. This leads to two major issues with your target audience.

Translation Errors Can Ruin the Message

Machine translation software frequently trips over tense and subject-verb agreement and leads to grammatical errors. A single mistake is enough to discredit you among the majority of your international audience. Worse, if there’s more than one error, the chances of a consumer staying on that page can go from slim to none.

Error-ridden translation can confuse audiences. When running a short paragraph of text through an online translator and then back again, as observed by Digital Trends, the message of the content is lost with varying degrees depending on the intricacy of the context. To send your message out to global audiences in a meaningful way, it is vital that you prioritize translation accuracy over speed, and take the time to use language as an opportunity to localize content in a way that resonates with consumers abroad. This ensures your message comes through just as well in a foreign culture as it does domestically.

Lack of Quality Affects Trust

Another issue that can arise when translation speed sacrifices accuracy is trust. Faulty translation by machine translation engines can affect perception and sales and harm consumer confidence in your service. If a user sees poorly translated website content on your global site, his or her first thought is probably that your business doesn’t care enough to invest in proper translation and localization services. Even worse, the user may feel that if your company is cutting corners with his or her native language, where else might shortcuts be taken? These concerned prospects may even wonder if it’s safe doing business with your company, according to BBC.

No matter how big of a rush you may be in to expand globally, get your translation right. While you’re rolling out marketing materials in other areas, many consumers’ first experience with your brand will be via your website.

The benefits of an accurate translation far outweigh those of a fast one, and it is worth the time you put into it.

Image source: BigStock

You should not use country flags to direct users to language-specific content.


About Amanda Kondolojy

Amanda Kondolojy is a full time freelance writer with a passion for language and technology. She loves to travel and enjoys trading pins with locals, wherever she goes!