Localization Services Mitigate the Dangers of Automated Translation

From eLearning providers to medical care experts, businesses of all
sizes and types are increasingly looking at localization services to reach out to wider
markets. In the ever expanding global economy, businesses need to enter new
markets and grow faster than ever to retain a competitive advantage.

Localization is the secret behind many global business success stories.
Netflix, for instance, has grown to become an entertainment giant by investing
in localization across 190 countries. Now, more than half of Netflix
subscribers are outside of the U.S. and Airbnb’s smart localization strategy
has led to its strong presense in 34000 cities across the globe. Distomo experienced
128 percent increased return on investment with localized apps.

Growing demand for localization services

Marketing professionals and business owners need to stay on top of this
expansion process while securing seamless foray into new markets. Businesses
that are incorporating localization
services into their marketing strategy are gaining competitive advantage
given the preference of local languages of consumers across the world.

Common Sense Advisory, a research firm surveyed more than 2000 web
consumers across eight countries and found that:

  • 72.1% prefer
    websites that are in their own language.
  • 72.4% are
    likely to purchase a product if information is provided in their own language.
  • 56.2% say
    getting information in local language is far more important than price.

Is automation the answer?

Recent times have seen the emergence of cloud translation tools, machine
translation and automated technologies including:

  • Automated
    interpreting technology
  • Neural machine
    translation
  • Translation
    management systems
  • Transcreation

While the rise of technology is inevitable, automation does not signal
the end of human translators or localization. On the contrary, human
localization services will be all the more relevant to augment imperfect
technology. The level of accuracy with automated technologies is low while
certain mistakes in translation can have serious safety, legal and social repercussions.

Limitations of automated
translation

Missing the context

Machines, unlike humans, cannot understand the context of translation
and produce word to word translation. The most commonly encountered errors in
machine translation are unintelligible phrases that can confuse and confound
readers. Human translators and localization experts on the other hand can make
sense of the nuances of the context to accurately portray the message.

Difficulty with local
expressions

There are a multitude of expressions, terms and slangs used in different
languages. Automated translating services are ineffective in interpreting and
translating these.  For example, English
spoken in the U.S. differs from the way it is spoken in Australia or New
Zealand with varying idioms and idiosyncrasies.

Costly offensive, legal
and economic errors

Automated translation tools use literal translation which can make
result in offensive words with social, legal/safety or economic repercussions. Machines
at times fail to interpret a word and make an approximate translation that
produces a completely different meaning related to the context. For instance in
Brazilians put in search term “capinha
(the diminutive form of the word) for “case” when searching for iPhone case. In
machine translation “capinha” to
English may not produce “case” or fail to translate completely. In this case,
the search query fails to produce results, leading to customer dissatisfaction
and loss of revenue for the online business. In some instances, “free shipping”
could be translated to “paid shipping” which also leads to loss of revenue.

Legal errors can happen when machine translation erroneously converts
one system of units of measurement (metrics, pounds), currencies or medical
dosages to another system.

Why use Localize?

There is an increasing demand for localization and translation experts
who proof-read and edit the errors of machine translation, thereby refining the
final output. At Localize we have collaboration
tools built into our platform so you can invite your own expert translators or
take advantage of our built-in integrations with our LSP partners Gengo and
Textmasters. Talk to us to see how we can help.

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