The value of human translation versus translation memories

In these times when we are all pleased with technological advances that make our lives easier, a question arises for translators in particular: to what extent could technology replace our professional work?

Paradoxically, everyone, including professionals in the field of translation is faced with misconceptions related to the value of technology, specifically for the work of professional translators. For example, to assert that translation memories simplify the lives of translators and even replace them is pure fantasy. Human performance in translation is unique and irreplaceable.

It is evident that in order to use any type of translation software, the instructions in the user’s manual must be followed to manage the repository storage functions or correspondence or non-correspondence between words; however, there are key elements involving judgment, expertise, context and knowledge that only the human brain can define, decide on and select in real time, and that is what translators take into account for each text. This in addition to experience and specialization make a translator a unique professional.

It should be noted that each function in a translation memory has been previously defined by a translator who used his/her judgment to define what the memory would deem compatible or incompatible with regard to each new text or glossary term.

In INTERCONTACT’S view, a specialized translator is a thinking, educated individual with a diverse cultural background and experience in his/her field. The question arises as to whether that is the value to be assigned to some codes in an automated program that only serves as a repository of  documents that have been translated by capable, knowledgeable professionals.

Let’s make no mistake. A translator is a valuable professional, a complement to the success of every project under his/her responsibility, and therefore, I repeat, irreplaceable. A translation memory can help a translator do good work by facilitating editing and identifying new text to be translated. Undoubtedly, it is a useful tool, but that is all it is.

At INTERCONTACT we recognize and value the efforts of our team of professional translators who receive training, specialize and are a source of knowledge. Furthermore, as added value, they are committed to satisfying customers with precision and quality, as we have for over 25 years.

Autor: Dante Merino La Rosa

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