Why are Human Translators so Vital to Industry?

Translators tend to be the unseen experts lurking behind every subtitle in a blockbuster movie, best-selling novel translation, or localized global website but with the advances in language-based AI technology some people may be wondering why they are still so vital to industry.

The answer is fourfold:

• Human translators add depth of emotion

• Human translators add cultural understanding

• Human translators add accuracy

• Human translators add creativity

While it is easy to state these facts, it is not so straightforward to understand how these factors fit within industry – how translators work with AI to improve and enhance machine translations, or how this benefits a company using language services, so this blog looks a little deeper into why human translators are so vital to industry.



1. Translators Add Depth of Emotion

As humans, we primarily express our emotions to others through our use of language with everything from the deepest soul-touched passion to the most commonplace experience being subject to the language we use.

However, different languages often have words with either no direct translation or with a different meaning.

For example, in the English language, the word “love” is used when discussing friendships and also a connection to a life partner or spouse, but in the Italian language, ‘love’ based in friendship tends to use “adoro” from the verb ‘adorare’, while a couple might use “Ti voglio bene” (I love you).

The choice of language in the example above is subject to an intricate understanding of language, culture, and emotion.

A human translator, especially a native speaking one, has this understanding and applies it to every translation, ensuring that the words convey the right message, fit the situation and are accurate in every sense.

Within industry, translators ensure that marketing materials, website content, social media posts, and so on, are accurately translated and localized so they suit the target audience’s expectations.



2. Human Translators Add Cultural Understanding

The link between language and culture is hard to ignore – they both play a part in major in how we view ourselves and the world around us. They influence everything from art to literature or religion to family.

Cultural norms, and the language linked to these, are part of the fabric of every community so translators must account for this when adapting a language for a new audience.

For instance, a marketing ad which has been created for a UK-based firm would need to be culturally adapted for a Middle Eastern audience as their accepted norms, language and cultural expectations are different.

Without this cultural adaption (known as localization) an ad may cause offence, communicate the wrong message, or simply fall short of truly connecting with its intended audience…all of which are undesirable when looking for a good return on investment!

Cultural understanding is relevant in marketing, but it is just as important in other business situations.

Every piece of translated content which is issued or created by a firm such as, legal documentation, internal/external correspondence, brochures, product packaging, and so on, embodies the company which produced it, and reflects it.

If the translation is of a low quality and has not considered cultural differences, this reflects poorly on the firm and shows a lack of cultural awareness and understanding.

Quality translations, on the other hand, show empathy and effort, and are more likely to impress the intended audience.



3. Human Translators Add Accuracy

While AI has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years, it isn’t infallible, so completely relying on machine translation to give a linguistically and culturally correct translation is not the best idea.

However, when combining Machine Translation (MT) with human translators, a precise, relevant, and appropriate translation or localization is produced.

Human translators, used in combination with MT, are great for adding depth, meaning or humour, and also for services such as, editing, back translation, and proofreading.

Human translators are also valuable for specialist industry translations where highly technical terminology or industry abbreviations are frequently used.

Industries such as, law, medicine, aerospace, engineering, IT, and telecoms all use specific terminology and vocabulary which is particular to their field, so using a translator who is trained in the relevant industry required gives an added layer of accuracy.


4. Human Translators Add Creativity

Creativity, imagination, and flair are human attributes which cannot be replicated by machines or AI.

This creativity allows translators to adapt content from one language to another without losing any of the original’s meaning, intent, pace, and emotion.

Within a business setting, this allows translators to generate engaging localized content for websites, produce appealing marketing copy, or creatively translate literary works.

Translated material or content which lacks creativity will fail to capture the attention of the target audience, is unlikely to boost sales and won’t promote a brand in a positive way.


At Creative Word, all our translators are native speaking, fully qualified translators who also have experience in other industries.

More information about our translators can be found here, or you can view our specialist language services here.

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