PC Chris Chabot
PC Chris Chabot
Welcome to our “Basic Breakdown” series where we share all our insider knowledge on the types of language services and solutions possible for a variety of industries. Our goal is to help alleviate confusion between the many options offered by LSC’s to help arm you with the knowledge YOU need to make the best decisions for your organization.
Today’s breakdown features CART services in education, or utilizing real-time translation in the classroom to enable your deaf or hard of hearing students’ learning capabilities.
Have you ever received a job application or a business email filled with typos or terrible grammar?
Did you want to do business with the author of those typos or find it easy to take them seriously?
Are you a translator that works from home?
How long have you been staring at this screen?
Once upon a time, about ten months ago, I moved to a new country in South America.
I needed to find an international job but didn’t have a work visa yet. So I put my feelers out and began networking with expats, reading online forums, and researching jobs that were known to assist with visas.
Eventually I encountered a man who promised me he knew just the company for me, and he said they would definitely help with my visa.
I was open to something new, so I told him I was interested and he set up an interview for the following week.
“What is he saying?” I asked my bilingual friend while studying Spanish in Chile. He paused, thought about the joke we had both just heard, and then said, “It’s hard to explain.”
I was just learning Spanish but he could speak both English and Spanish fluently, so I couldn’t wrap my mind around his inability to just directly translate.
Take each word, translate it in his mind, and then regurgitate it back in English. That’s all it is, right?
I later learned that sometimes things are hard to translate. Sometimes a word doesn’t have an equivalent in another language and is therefore, untranslatable, or impossible to directly translate without the help of calling upon many other words.
If you do business internationally or within markets that speak different languages (many consumers in the USA speak Spanish, etc), you may have considered the need for multilingual SEO (search engine optimization) and website localization.
What comes to mind when you imagine a glamorous career? Movie stars? High profile CEOs? Secret agents? Or perhaps a globe-trotting interpreter or translator? The last option may not have immediately come to mind for the readers here in the United States but there are places in the world where it would.
As we all know, we are living in a time of change. Each day that I research news on immigration visa laws, the predictions seem to change while retaining a tone of uncertainty. I find that articles written in Feb 2017 already differ drastically from articles published in August 2017 concerning visa conditions. According to Business Insider, the rate of green card holders applying for citizenship has more than doubled in the past year in Los Angeles because everyone doubts the future of their ability to safely stay in the United States. No one seems to know what the future will hold for those seeking asylum, refugees, those on work visas, or anyone holding a green card for that matter.
I admit it, I use Google Translate on a fairly regular basis. Mostly for casual word checks or to double check phrases people text me that I’m not totally certain of. Especially when I have a feeling they are trying to be funny. However, when the latter is the situation, I often find that Google helps very little because computer translation isn’t yet firm on its handle of local slang or words which have various local contexts. Then, yesterday, whilst in an international conference fully supported by simultaneous interpretation, I found myself marveling at the human ability to hear and translate in real time with little margin of error. There’s no way machine translation could piece together the witty banter between the two English executives and spit it out to a Colombian audience effectively, right? So when it comes to translation, where DO we stand in the humans vs machines race? How far away are we from a sci-fi reality?