Google Translate – or a translation agency?

It is well-known, that the level of, let us say, computer intelligence has achieved really high standards by now. There are no longer problems with mathematical calculations, no matter how complicated. A computer is able to beat even a grandmaster in chess. But written translation is one thing the computer is most probably unable to master, ever. It does need a live brain, and a live brain is something hardly ever possible for the computer to think with.

The matter is, the computer can be taught logics. Absolutely any logics: just get the algorithm and do. However, translating is not logics. It is fancy, emotion, feeling. The text is not marked from the start with a note “conversational style”, “scientific text”, “elevated style”. One should personally understand the stylistic bias the text is using – and work on it accordingly. Moreover, a language, as meta-linguists claim, is a living matter. It comes into being, develops, then it is time for it to die. A language lives in people speaking it. And the people are very, very different. If one of them says, “oi, mate, no loot with your kinky ways, screwed up your sniff, ain’t ye?”, another one would put the same phrase as “I am sorry, old chap, you are out of luck this time, you’ve failed to catch your chance again”, while with a third one it would be “sorry, dude, it hasn’t come together, we’ve goofed it up”, and there will even come up a fourth one with “take my deepest sympathy: the fortune has turned away from you, you are on a losing streak”!  Do you see how many versions of the same phrase may just pop up in one’s mind?! How do you think the Google-translator (as well as the PROMPT with Socrates and their fellow-colleagues) is to   recognize where it is that somebody had loot, where he caught his chance, where he is on a winning streak and where it all came together?!

Why, yes, undoubtedly, there is a point in machine translation, too. Suppose, you need to find out, what exactly it is that the foreign agents are trying to advertise for you, whether their letter is meaningful or whether they just mean to say “buy our dummies!”? Processing a text with an automatic translator is a must, at least just to see if it is worth your time at all. The interface at those websites is usually simple enough, too, to say nothing of the fact that phrases like “contacts”, “prices”, “catalogue” are surely translatable practically for any browser. Reading a social network page of a friend communicating with foreigners and finding an “exquisite” Russian translation of a comment like "я люблю вашу картинувы прекрасен" instead of "мне нравится твоё фототы красивая" (“I like your picture, you are beautiful”) is anyway clearer and more pleasant than, say, a pack of hieroglyphs, but nevertheless, it concerns exclusively those texts where you do not have to gain insight into the contents!

And recruiting a translator is a very challenging point in fact. For one has to find someone to really think in the very register the text is written in. Someone to naturally match the word “to have loot” or “to be on the winning streak” – depending on the context. There are people specializing in lofty style, there are those who are keen on scientific texts, and those who are brilliant at translating conversational speech of any stratum of society… And that is the reason why selecting a translator is a task better to be committed to professionals, that is, one should better contact a translation agency. For it is really for us to know better who in the agency is responsible for this or that translation discourse.

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