The 21st century has essentially put linguistic translation at our fingertips. With a simple copy and paste, automated software like Google Translate will give you a literal translation of your content. Or, if you prefer a human touch, you can access millions of speakers of other languages virtually, through agencies and message boards. At Verbal Ink, we wanted to see if our approach to translation services — hiring real linguists to craft language for document and audio translation — is superior in quality to the instant gratification alternatives. We created an experiment to test our hypothesis: Verbal Ink's translators will produce more accurate translations between languages than Google Translate and translators that lack native-level fluency in both the source and the target language.
Our Method: Comparing Google Translate with Human Translators
First, we needed to find a document to translate from one language to another. We wanted the document to contain industry-specific terminology as well as English idioms. And, we didn't want it to be boring. So, we wrote a short original piece on ADHD (Appendix 1).
Next, we needed to decide on a language for our translation project. We selected Hungarian because of the relatively low supply of Hungarian translators and the language's increasing importance in emerging markets.
After deciding on Hungarian, we gave our document to our amazingly talented Hungarian linguist, who possesses Master's degrees in both English and Hungarian linguistics and has published articles in American academic journals. Our linguist translated our document from English into Hungarian in preparation for our experiment (Appendix 2).
Once our Hungarian document was prepared, we gave it to a different Verbal Ink translator for translation into English (Appendix 3). We then pasted it into Google Translate and instructed the program to translate from Hungarian into English (Appendix 4). We also sent the document to a non-Verbal Ink translator in Budapest, Hungary (Appendix 5). The Google translation was free, the non-Verbal Ink translation was billed at $30.00 for the 206-word document, and the Verbal Ink translation cost $41.20.
Analyzing the Results: Google Translate vs. Human Translators
We performed a side-by-side comparison of the three English-language translations, paying attention to grammar, spelling, and readability. More importantly, we wanted to assess whether the translation sounded natural to native English speakers and captured the true meaning of the content.
A side-by-side comparision of the first two sentences of our document speaks for itself:
|Original||Google Translate||Non-Verbal Ink Translator||Verbal Ink|
|ADHD has become a four letter word.||ADHD is a negative connotation complain about getting a divorce.||The word ADHD starts to have a negative meaning.||The term ADHD – which stands for "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder" – is starting to assume negative connotations.|
|If it is not diagnosed right off the bat, children's educational attainment can be hindered.||The children's cognitive development at the expense, if the ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in Hungarian] is not diagnosed quickly.||If the ADHD will not be diagnozed soon that can effect the progress of the children's conscience.||It can be to the detriment of children's mental development if this disorder is not diagnosed quickly.|
Overall, the Google translation generated a good deal of in-office laughter, but failed to capture the meaning of our text. The non-Verbal Ink translator captured the meaning better than Google Translate, but, due to their lack of native familiarity with English, had numerous misspellings and awkward syntax. Verbal Ink's translator captured the meaning of the text and conveyed its message in native-sounding English.
Conclusion: Why Human Translators Are Better than Google Translate
Verbal Ink's translator captured the meaning of the text and conveyed its message in native-sounding English.Google Translate is great — if you're a high school student finishing French homework. It's easily accessible, it's free, and it works in short bursts. For finding out what a single word means or getting the gist of an article's subject matter, Google Translate is a timesaver. But, you get what you pay for; additionally, Google Translate doesn't provide audio translation services. The non-native translator was definitely more on point than Google Translate; however, his English was textbook-only. For example, the phrase "support group" was translated as "helping club." This might pass muster at first glance, but most native English speakers would consider it to be an error. It didn't surprise us that Verbal Ink's translation services delivered an accurate, native-sounding translation of the original document. Both our linguist and our translator are native Hungarians who have been living and translating in the United States for many, many years. At Verbal Ink, we strive to provide translations that demonstrate style and expertise. Before you click that Google Translate "translate document" button, you may want to skim through the appendices. We think that when you read the translations below, you'll agree that our translation was worth the extra eleven dollars.
Appendix One: Article on ADHD (Original Text)
ADHD has become a four letter word. If it is not diagnosed right off the bat, children’s educational attainment can be hindered. Treating ADHD successfully isn’t a piece of cake. It requires proper assessment which can be difficult because there are many conditions that can cause ADHD symptoms. These include genetics, prenatal conditions, environmental factors, allergies, lead poisoning, hyperactive thyroid, auditory processing problems, intellectual giftedness, iron deficiencies, and abuse. The most probable cause of ADHD is genetics, as many children with ADHD have at least one parent with similar symptoms. Lead poisoning, hypoglycemia and hyperactive thyroid are less frequently emergent in ADHD case data. You may be thinking “This is all Greek to me,” but with some tricks of the trade, you can get the problem squared away. When diagnosing ADHD, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Other illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder produce symptoms that mimic ADHD, they do not cause ADHD. A thorough assessment involving clinical interviews, inventories, observation and allergy testing should be employed to determine the cause of ADHD symptoms. Once the cause has been nailed down, parents and treating physicians can devise a treatment plan incorporating nutritional strategies, behavioral modification, counseling, psychotherapy, exercise, medication, and support groups.
Appendix Two: Hungarian to English Translation by Verbal Ink Translator
Az ADHD szó kezd negatív jelentésű szóvá válni. A gyerekek értelmi fejlődésének rovására mehet, ha az ADHD (magyarul figyelemhiányos hiperaktivitás zavar) nem kerül gyors diagnosztizálásra. Nem egyszerű feladat az ADHS sikeres kezelése. Szükséges hozzá a kórelőzmény alapos kivizsgálása, amely esetenként igen nehéz lehet, hiszen sokféle betegség váthat ki ADHD tüneteket. A kiváltó okok közé tartozik a genetikai hajlam, magzati kori hatások, környezeti hatások, allergiák, ólommérgezés, pajzsmirígy túlműködés, hallászavar, kiemelkedő intellektuális adottságok, vashiány vagy lelki trauma. Az ADHD leggyakoribb kiváltó oka a genetikai hajlam, hiszen sok ADHD-vel küzdő gyerek esetében látjuk, hogy legalább az egyik szülő szintén mutat hasonló tüneteket. Az ólommérgezés, hyperglykaemia és pajzsmirígy túlműködés ritkábban fordulnak elő az ADHD kórelőzményi adatai között. Még ha úgy is tűnik, hogy mindez teljességgel megfoghatatlan, vannak olyan támpontok, melyek iránytűként szolgálhatnak ebben az útvesztőben. Az ADHD diagnózis felállításához nem szabad csak a látszatra hagyatkozni. Más betegségek, mint a depresszió vagy bipoláris betegség is válthatnak ki olyan tüneteket, melyek az ADHD-t utánozzák, de mégsem annak eredményei. Széleskörű kivizsgálással kell megállapitani az ADHD tünetek okát, mely vizsgálat magába kell foglalja a klinikai interjúkat, kórelőzményi adatok alapos felvételét, megfigyelést és allergia tesztet. Amint sikerül megtalálni az okot, a szülők és kezelőorvosok kidolgozhatnak egy — étrendi változásokra, viselkedés-módosításra , pszichológiai tanácsadásra, pszichoterápiára, testedzésre, gyógyszeres terápiára és segítő csoportok igénybe vételére kiterjedő — kezelési programot.
Appendix Three: Hungarian to English Translation, Verbal Ink Translator
The term ADHD—which stands for “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder”—is starting to assume negative connotations. It can be to the detriment of children’s mental development if this disorder is not diagnosed quickly. And yet its successful treatment is no easy task. It is necessary to thoroughly examine a patient’s case history, and in some cases doing so can be hard indeed; for many different illnesses can yield ADHD symptoms. Among the causes are genetic predisposition, prenatal influences, environmental influences, allergies, lead poisoning, hyperthyroidism, hearing disorders, superiorintellectual aptitudes, iron deficiency, and emotional trauma. Heredity is the most frequent trigger for the development of ADHD; many children struggling with ADHD have at least one parent who exhibits similar symptoms. Lead poisoning, hyperglycemia, and hyperthyroidism occur less frequently in the data on ADHD case histories. Even if it seems that all the possible causes cannot be kept track of in their entirety, there are some points of certainty that can serve as compasses in navigating this labyrinth. Appearances alone cannot establish a reliable diagnosis of ADHD. Other disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, can likewise produce symptoms that mimic those of ADHD but are not its consequence. The cause of ADHD symptoms must be determined through a wide-ranging examination—which must comprise clinical interviews, a thorough recording of case history data, observation, and allergy testing. As soon as the cause is determined, parents and doctors can develop a treatment program—one that may include dietary changes, behavior modification, psychological counseling, psychiatric therapy, exercise, medicinal therapy, and support groups.
Appendix Four: Hungarian to English Translation, Google Translate
ADHD isa negative connotation complain about getting a divorce.The children's cognitive development at the expense, if the ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in Hungarian] is not diagnosed quickly. Not an easy task for the successful treatment of ADHD. It requires a thorough investigation of the history, which can be quite difficult, because many diseases Vathin ADHD symptoms. The causes include genetic predisposition, age fetal effects, environmental effects, allergies, lead poisoning, overactive thyroid, hearing loss, high intellectual endowments, iron deficiency or psychological trauma. ADHD is the most common cause of genetic predisposition, as many children struggling with ADHD case, we see that at least one of the parents is also showing the same symptoms. Lead poisoning, overactive thyroid, and hyperglycaemia may occur less frequently in the medical history data of ADHD. Even if it appears that it is totally incomprehensible, there are some indications which may serve as a compass in the maze. The diagnosis of ADHD should not only rely on appearances. Other disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder also may cause symptoms such that mimic ADHD, but not its results. Extensive investigations, should establish the cause of ADHD symptoms, which testings should be included in the clinical interviews, a thorough medical history data recording, monitoring, and an allergy test. Once we're able to find a reason, parents and clinicians can develop a dietary changes, behavioral modification and psychological counseling, psychotherapy, exercise, meditation, therapy and support groups to mobilize wide-management program.
Appendix Five: Hungarian to English Translation, Overseas Translator
The word ADHD starts to have a negative meaning. If the ADHD will not be diagnozed soon that can effect the progress of the children's conscience. The successful treatment of ADHD is not an easy task. A thorough examination of the antecedent disease is vital that can be sometimes hard as many illnesses can cause ADHD symptoms. Among the couses there are the genetic aptitude, the effect during the fetis period, the enviromental effects, allergies, the saturnine poisoning, the thyroidism the hearing demages, the outstanding intelectual givens the asiderosis or the pneumatic trauma. The main cause of the ADHD is the genetic aptitude as it is visible among children dealing with the disease that one of their parents also show similar symptoms. The asiderosis, hyperglycaemia and thyroidism are rarely common in the data of the ADHD antecedent disease. Even if this seems absolutely elusive there are some s tanding – grounds which can service us a compass in this labyrinth. Setting the diagnoses of ADHD the rule never judge a book by its cover applies. Other diseases such as depression or bipolar illnesses can evoke symptoms that imitates ADHD however they are not its results. The causes of the ADHD symptoms must be established by a widespread examination, that must include the clinical interviews, the antecedent disease's detailed minutes, the observation and the allergy tests. As soon as the cause has been found parents and doctors can set up a treatment that includes diet changes, behaviour modifications, psycho-therapeutics consultations, and therapy, physical excercises, drug therapy and anonym helping clubs.