Machine Translation vs. Accuracy & Security

High-end translations and linguists are a luxury, as users elect speed of machines over accuracy and security.

Phone apps for quickly translating phrases when traveling are great for ordering drinks, struggling with directions in a foreign language or communicating with foreign friends. Everyone enjoys the speed of knowledge provided by a translation app., as well as the silly phrases and amusing inaccuracies presented. However useful and fun, it is not yet advisable to rely upon your phone app to translate your new business contract.

Translation has changed dramatically in recent years, with advances in machine assisted translation software, and many users of translations have elected cheap cost and speed over accuracy and diligence. Some translation agencies now cater simply to certain sectors’ whims of speed with provisions of rough translations inaccurately written by not necessarily native speakers, but conveying the gist of the text and a few relevant and necessary facts. 28 years ago, people were interested in the most accurate translation they could obtain. Now, there is a global use for all levels of translation with

Courts do still require certified translations carried out and signed by qualified professional linguists. However, as clients no longer all demand high quality translations, not all agencies employ top level linguists. Translators are not all of the same level of qualification and experience. Now, with differing levels of translation quality deemed acceptable for different uses, fewer translators are gaining the necessary experience and training to become specialised top level linguists.

Aplomb’s translations, however, are still carried out by people at the top of their linguistic field, as our clients do require true representation, confidentiality and specialist application of knowledge not yet available from a machine.

Professional quality translations and interpreting are necessary when it is important to deliver all aspects of your message accurately. This is where Aplomb excels.

We assess:

  • language pairs,
  • subject specialism,
  • quality of the original text,
  • level of technicality,
  • requested format,
  • time constraints,
  • security levels,
  • and the intended use of each assignment

We then expertly match each assignment to our best experienced people to carry out your work. We translate, edit and proofread each document to ensure accuracy to Aplomb’s exceptional professional standard. We happily incorporate your stylistic and formatting requests. All this is done by people. It does take a bit of time to produce excellent translations. Most of our clients appreciate this. They understand that an expertly produced translation will save costs and time overall. Everyone has had to work with bad translations at some point and we all know how frustrating this can be.

Having a reliable translation to start, or to finish your project can make all the difference for your successful business outcome. Getting your point across with ease and grace is what we all strive for. After spending weeks and months perfecting your presentation in your native language, it only makes economic, brand, and image sense to ensure the translation or interpretation of your matter is accurately and professionally delivered in the appropriate style fit for purpose in the target language.

Aplomb’s exceptional level of service is carried out by highly experienced and qualified people whom we trust. While it is true that some documents do lend themselves to machine assisted translation, this is not true for most of the documents which we translate at Aplomb. Many machine translation platforms are online and therefore not secure. This means we never upload documents onto these tools as it would not be possible for us to maintain security and confidentiality.

The accuracy of both the input of the source text and the translated output varies throughout machine translation software, from system to system, and the source text and the translated text always need to be edited. If the source text is poorly written, the translation will not make sense. The degree of editing depends also upon the technicality of the subject. Translation software accepts word files or requires inputting of source text onto its own platform and then translates only those words or phrases which have already been input into it. Usually, these are the most common vocabulary definitions and uses for the words. To translate legal, financial and technical matters, specialised vocabulary is employed. Machine translation software works well with repetition of words which are always employed in the same manner. For instance, it is great for translation of clothes labels where words like cotton, viscose, wool are always the same. Even so, it is quite common to see that in today’s speedy cost-cutting economy, these have often not been proofread and one error input into a machine is often reprinted and repeatedly stitched into 100,000 garments.

A “woolly thought”, however, might not translate into all languages via machine. Possibly an equivalent phrase in the target language exists which is not necessarily an exact word for word translation; or there may be no equivalent, and in such case, the translator may have to either invent a phrase to convey the point or add a note of explanation. Machines are improving rapidly, but they are not quite up to this level of intelligent creative thinking.

So far, at Aplomb, the best way to maintain our high level of quality and service is to employ exceptional people. Each of our translations is carried out by qualified experienced professionals and then proofread by a single person. Where appropriate, use of machine assisted translation is employed by our professional translators on local computers to guard confidentiality, and top quality is maintained through their specialism and linguistic expertise of With or without the use of machine translation, we always proofread everything. We do not quickly “spot check” or “sample” documents for quality control. We thoroughly proofread the entire document. This is how we can assure reliably that all text has been translated, including handwritten notes, stamps and seals; that all numbers are accurately reproduced; and that editing has maintained accuracy of terminology and collated consistency of style.

Our exceptional clients settle for nothing less.