As the world continues to become increasingly globalized, more and more businesses are finding themselves needing language translation. Even small businesses, once thought of as a strictly local concern, have found their goods and services opened up to a global market, and that means they need to be able to communicate in the language of their customers. The problem is that not all translation services are created equal.

Technology in general and the Internet in particular have given us many wonderful things, especially in the business arena. For one thing, we now have the ability to sell our wares to a global audience, making it possible for the most obscure of niche businesses to turn a profit. But technology has also given us some false ideas, especially when it comes to language translation.

For many people, the beginning and end of translation services are automated systems like Babelfish or the Google translation tool. The obvious problem with this kind of language translation is that it is done by machines, and we have not, as yet, developed a computer that can replace a human mind and all the expertise that humans can provide.

This kind of translation service suffers from context issues. Translating a document is not just a matter of swapping out words in the original language for whatever their equivalent is judged to be. The specific words in a business document have a meaning in context, specific nuances that are not obvious to a computer that can radically change the intended meaning of what you’re trying to communicate.

You can see this within the English language. Halt and stop, for instance, mean the same thing, but we use one or the other depending on the context of what we’re trying to communicate. This is something that only humans can do, and if you want good language translation, then you need someone who understands both languages involved in the translation project and both cultures.

These kinds of translation services won’t just give you a translated text that has what you said, changed into another language. It will give you a document that has what you meant to say, and that can be an important distinction when trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak your language.

For instance, you may have written a business proposal that would be a good deal for both you and the foreign business you’re trying to contact. An inferior language translation may not take into account the tone of your message, and the proposal, translated, may therefore come off as rude and pushy. You’ve just lost a new potential partner.

An expert translator will be able to determine the intent of your communication and craft the translation so that it conveys the meaning of your message in the language of the person to whom you are communicating. This can make the difference between success and failure, and too many business owners have lost opportunities by not choosing the right translation service.

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