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The risks of free translation

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The risks of free translation

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Due to the cross-country nature of the internet and ever-increasing globalisation in most commercial markets, utilising a UK translation service has become essential to all kinds of businesses. This means that many small companies, often on restricted budgets, are now in need of reliable translations and frequently end up turning to free online translation software like Google Translate.

Could this be creating additional problems for businesses rather than offering a cost-effective solution though?

In an earlier blog, we had discussed some of the “perils” that come with free machine translation, but its growing popularity demands a bit more discussion on the topic.

What’s so tempting about automated machine translation?

It’s easy to see why many businesses turn to software like Google Translate: not only is it easily accessible, but the process is straightforward (simply copy and paste!), the results instantaneous, and, best of all for the budget-conscious, it’s completely free! Who wouldn’t be clamouring to use something with benefits like those?

What could go wrong?

Unfortunately, the old adage “you get what you pay for” very much applies to automated machine translation and whilst the process may be simple and free, the translations themselves are generally quite poor and certainly not something you would want to use to represent your business.


Part of the problem lies with the fact that a machine simply cannot decipher contextual clues the same way that humans can, which results in far less nuanced translations at best, and complete gobbledegook at worst. Translation software is best used for single words and simple fragments to help someone understand the gist of things; longer pieces of prose or complicated text are something that free machine translation tools simply cannot handle right now.

However, despite machine translation being best suited to casual use, even this can go awry, such as in the recent case of a Palestinian’s cheerful “good morning” Facebook post being incorrectly machine translated as “attack them”, which actually led to his arrest.


So what can be done? Well, if you want a timely, accurate translation suitable for using in a professional environment, then your best bet is to hire a bona fide UK translation service provider like Surrey Translation Bureau.

Instead of rolling the dice with free machine translations, using professional translation services means qualified linguists taking note of the tone of your document and its intended audience, and choosing the correct terminology and style to suit it, as well as collaborating with other experts and cross-referencing for accuracy and readability. It may take slightly longer than a free translation service, but where your business is concerned, a professional translation is worth the wait!

For a quality UK you can trust, contact the team at Surrey Translation Bureau today and we’ll get back to you with more detailed information as soon as we can.

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