Celebrating the role of the professional human translator

With the advances in machine translation, AI and machine learning, we’d be forgiven for thinking that the role of the professional human translator is becoming increasingly marginalised and under threat. At the same time, as linguists and professionally trained translators, we understand the art of translation better than anyone, the processes involved, the cognitive skills required and the linguistic flair needed to create a translation that doesn’t in fact read like a translation, but rather like a natural sounding text that has been crafted by a native speaker.

Understand your role

It is an inevitable truth that everything that can be automated, will eventually be automated, and the translation industry is no exception. There are certain types of translation that are either already automated or will be in the years to come. But the role of the professional human translator isn’t dead, in fact, we are still very much at the heart of the industry.

And we are by no means demonising automation or the advance of technology – on the contrary, we love technology and the new ways it empowers us as translators. We recognise that there is a role for every translation type, whether that’s human, machine, or a hybrid model like post-edited machine translation. We know that, in certain instances, machine translation has more merit than a human translation, such as real-time translations of user-generated content.

But we also recognise that with these different translation models emerging, the general perception about what a human translation should look like, and what it should cost, is shifting. We have a duty to ourselves to promote our specific ‘market segment’ of professional human translation. Every single translator, whether you are just starting out or have years of experience, whether you are a freelancer or employed, whether you translate for direct clients or agencies – we all need to educate those around us about the different translation types that are available and their individual virtues.

Educate your audience

For a potential customer who has never before bought a translation, they might well ask themselves: with free translations so readily available at the touch of a button, why should I even consider paying for translation at all? It’s a fair question, and it’s our collective job to educate them about what type of translation should be used for which type of content, and when it is really important to work with a professional human translator.

For example, if your client is a marketing, localisation or export manager of a successful brand who has worked extremely hard to define and build a brand personality, and has perfected the way they communicate with their customers, then using a professional human translator with experience and a flair for communicating effectively is imperative in order to correctly localise their messages for each of their target markets. The same goes for any content that is creative, has personality and tone, or is heavy in colloquialisms or metaphors.

Promote yourself

We think it’s important that we, as professional human translators, clearly identify ourselves as such, that we differentiate our work from automated output and that we celebrate our contribution to our clients’ international strategies. That’s why we have developed these simple, easily identifiable translation icons, so that we can promote ourselves and position ourselves as providers of professional human translation within the translation market place.

If you are a professional human translator  and proud of it, then join us in celebrating the importance of professional human translation in our industry today, and help us spread the word.

Download your free translation icons

Download your free translation icons today! We have made these translation icons available in a variety of colours and sizes to suit your own brand – you can add it to your website, email signatures, social media or professional online profile.

A big “thank you” to the talented illustrator James Birks who created the icons for us!

If you would like to download the icons and use them on your website or content, all you have to do is fill in a short form, agree to the Licence Agreement, and we’ll send you a link where you can download the files. Ready? Go to the Downloads Page.