From learning a new language to accessing foreign news articles to connecting with family in another country over social media, Google Translate has undoubtedly enhanced the way we use the internet in our personal lives. It’s portable and the app doesn’t even require an internet connection, making it an excellent travel companion not just for ordering food or asking for directions, but it could prove to be crucial in an emergency if you’re in another country.
With over 500 million users, Google Translate has a very important role to play in breaking down language barriers and helping us all to stay better connected – not to mention pioneering some truly astonishing tech along the way.
From Google Translate to machine translation software for businesses: letting a computer take care of your translation needs seems like the ultimate language solution – but is it too good to be true and will this new technology put us mere human translators out of a job?
Whether you're a seasoned exporter or are investigating new export opportunities for your business, you'll have a good idea of the huge investment in time, effort and resources which is required for export success.
As another successful year has drawn to a close, we’re amazed at how much has happened at AST in the last 12 months. Here are some of our highlights from 2016:
Becoming a PM isn’t necessarily an easy career move. There is a lot to familiarise yourself with – the ins and outs of each client, the translators’ specialties, and the ways of a new office. I don’t like to shy away from a challenge, but you definitely need to remain switched on and preferably in the right gear 99% of the time (the 1% can be for the all-important biscuit, or as at AST, banana break). At the start it can be overwhelming – especially for someone who hasn’t worked in the translation industry before. You have to get your head around an array of texts, where the subject matter can vary from railway switches to petroleum dyes to installation of urinals!
I cannot help but notice the smile on someone’s face when I tell them that I am a translator. Of course, I ought to be one since I have Turkish parents and grew up in Austria and can speak English. What else should I have been? A doctor? A scientist? Or even an astronaut? Oh dear, no. Someone who was practically born with two languages and who grew up learning two more thanks to an excellent education system is a de facto translator.
Uttering the sentence, “Google Translate is becoming a ‘gold standard in business’”, is likely to make most linguists and translation professionals turn into slightly more articulate versions of the Looney Tunes character, Taz the Tasmanian Devil. Yet, that is exactly what it is on the verge of becoming, despite that fact that most of us know that what comes out of Google Translate doesn’t always qualify as “translation”.
Some authors may balk at the notion that a translator should be considered a writer. “Where is the creative process or the unique product”, they ask? The answer, right there in the translation. Danish writer and translator V.H. Pedersen once wrote, "Every language analyses reality in its own unique way, and is inextricably linked with the culture that has shaped it". Since translators transfer texts and meaning from one language to another, their work is influenced by their knowledge of original and target language, as well as original and target culture. And transference from one language to another sometimes requires substantial creative abilities in the translator.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the right tools and resources are required to successfully meet business objectives.