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  • Why Machines Can Never Truly Replace Human Translators

    Today, even translations are not immune from the power of technology.


    There are already quite a number of machine translation (MT) software and applications out there, each one claiming to produce faster translations. While a computer’s ability to translate faster cannot be questioned, the more important question when it comes to translation is how accurate and effective a translation is.


    After all, translation is a subjective and dynamic practice. It is rooted in one’s knowledge and understanding of yet another subjective and dynamic human attribute—language.


    While MT has its own unique benefits, translation will always require a “human touch” for it to be truly effective. Here are five reasons why.


    1. A human translator does not simply do literal translation. A human translator does not merely replicate the source text into its equivalent in another language. A human translator takes into consideration the context, the tone, and the nuances which are essential to understanding the meaning of a translated text.
    2. A human translator has the ability to be resourceful and creative. Sometimes, there are no exact translations for some words and phrases, especially those that represent unique cultural quirks. For a professional human translator, this is not a problem because intimate knowledge of the language comes with an understanding of the culture it represents.
    3. A human translation has specialties. Part of a human translator’s job is to focus on a field of expertise so he/she will be better able to translate industry-specific terms. This allows a human translator to translate technical documents with more relevant context and accuracy.
    4. A human translator is culturally and politically sensitive. A human translator can navigate through inevitable cultural and political sensitivities. He/She can spot and address text that may be obscene, inappropriate or offensive to the target audience of the translated text.
    5. A human translator can better work on revisions. When an MT translates, it can be assumed that what it has produced is the best of what it can do, so asking for a second round for revisions will be quite pointless. A human translator is better equipped to handle revisions and feedback from a client.


    In the US, the largest non-Hispanic Spanish-speaking country in the world, a Spanish translator is always a valuable resource especially for businesses and industries that target the Hispanic market. According to Alfonso Martinez, general manager of California-based The Spanish Group, it is crucial to always work with a certified translation services provider to get good results.


    “Translations are used for important documents, and a faulty translation can affect the results of a business or legal transaction,” Martinez said. “Many of our regular clients have discovered that working with a certified translation services provider, especially with professional human translators, is always a good investment. Years of expertise and experience are invaluable traits in the translation business.”


    The Spanish Group specializes only in Spanish to English (and vice versa) translations for all types of documents—from websites and marketing documents to personal files such as marriage and birth certificates. As a certified translation services company, The Spanish Group’s translated documents are accepted in all government offices and private organizations.

    Lorenzo Saavedra is a San Francisco-based Colombian writer. He has a degree in Journalism and Economics from the University of Miami where he graduated with Latin honors. He is fluent in Spanish, English, Italian, and also speaks “some Arabic.”


    During his time in the university, he wrote about Cuban-American population and relations, and the incorporation of Cuban-Americans into mainstream American society.


    Lorenzo juggles his time between working as a freelance writer and travelling which is also a source of inspiration for many of his works. His favorite topics are politics and social issues, literary and film criticism, and business.


    Lorenzo enjoys going to the beach and learning about new languages.