Should You Rely on a Translator App?

Considering a translator app is a natural step when you’re translating company content. After all, technology helps break down language barriers and make it easier than ever before to do business internationally.

But many brands find choosing the wrong type of application can be costly.

Issues with translation apps range from accuracy to a lack of efficiency in the translation process, costing businesses customers and money. Selecting the right kind of translation technology, however, can dramatically speed up and improve your translation efforts at the same time. Here’s a closer look at five types of translation apps, and what business leaders need to know when selecting a translation app for their firm’s needs.

Online Translation Apps

These are the free, online tools such as Google Translate. They use machine translation (MT), taking words from one language and providing a basic equivalent in a target language. They have many issues with quality as there are nuances of language that machines cannot be trained in. The results can be so off-point that they’re funny or even embarrassing. They suffice for a very quick task, but should never be used for important personal or professional translation needs.

Mobile Apps

Consumers often download a mobile translation app when they need a quick reference when traveling abroad. These consumer-oriented apps—which include the popular ones like iTranslate, Word Lens, Waygo, and others—help individuals navigate foreign language environments where they might have limited language skills. Translating a simple question, such as a request for directions or confirming the price of a purchase, is as simple as entering your request in one language. Mobile translation apps can be clunky when relying on arbitrary wireless connections, though, and are best used for travel and other individual purposes whose end user is the same on both ends of the translation.

Desktop Translation Software

Desktop translation software is also most frequently used by individual consumers. Their goal is to usually get a “quick and dirty” translation of a foreign document. Often desktop software is simply the offline version of an online translation program. Because mobile translation apps are so popular, they’re quickly diminishing the popularity of those you’d install on a computer. Desktop translation software is fraught with similar challenges to those of online translation apps: speed, accuracy, and context are all major issues. Still, the latter is consistent with where so many translations need to end up—online.

Professional Translation Tools

Professional translation tools are also referred to as computer-aided translation (CAT) tools. These tools are geared primarily toward professional translators, with the objective of speeding up the translation process. CAT programs help translators become efficient by creating databases of frequently translated terms and phrases, which naturally speeds up the process.

Enterprise Translation Software

For most businesses, enterprise translation software is the right decision when undertaking a large localization project. This business-grade software streamlines the process for managing highly complex translation projects. To this end, it is possible to access CAT tools, integrate with content management systems, and manage the translation process — all on one platform. You can thus ensure you’re offering the greatest support possible to your professional translators and meet deadlines in time for product launches in international markets.

Your translation need will determine the type of translation app best suitable for you. By and large, stay away from apps that promise instant gratification, if you have enterprise translation needs.

Image source: BigStock

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