Four Ways to Apply Language Technology to Cut Translation Costs

Naysayers have warned about the possibility of technology taking over and eliminating all sorts of jobs, including translators. While it would be easy to jump on the bandwagon and agree with them to some degree, it's important to remember that there is no substitute for the human brain. While technology can be made to work faster than us, it doesn't have the ability to think and process information like a human might. It can be programmed to translate documents, remember frequently used translations and optimize data management, but it's unlikely to be 100% accurate all of the time. 

That said, we do need to harness the power of technology since time and budgets are often limited. Getting started using language technology can be costly, therefore it's full potential isn't being realized and, as a consequence, projects are drawn out and costs rise. One solution, to enable more work hours to be freed up for projects that only humans can do, is to move from a purely manual translation process to semi-automation via the following four types of technology. 

Four Types of Technology Used In Legal Translation

1. Translation Memory and Terminology Management Tools

At present, the legal field doesn't use computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools to their full potential. When it comes to legal translations, CAT are very useful because they help with managing language assets, leveraging resources and reducing overall costs of the case or project. Translation memory (TM) tools retain terms that are translated frequently thus ensuring consistent translations. This also increases efficiency and quality, and can even maintain a similar tone of voice among documents. 

2. Translation Management Systems 

Experienced translators are well worth their fees, but when their time is being underutilized by having to do admin work like handling files and tracking past projects, the costs can really pile up. Using a translation management system (TMS) automates the file handling process so that the translator's work is minimized, freeing them up to do what they do best: translate. Previous translations and projects are easily tracked, which allows them to be found at a moment's notice. It's a cost saving and efficient way to handle the task of translating large amounts of data. 

3. Linguistic QA Tools

To avoid making a million dollar error, linguistic QA tools are quite effective when it comes to avoiding simple typos and factual errors.  They aren't perfect, but they do make translating numbers, which are so easy to mistype, a snap. QA tools are able to consistently translate all key terms so that documents are easy to understand and don't contain multiple translations for the same term. They can also catch simple mistakes, which would be impossible for human eyes, as they sift through large amounts of text in a matter of minutes.

4. Machine Translation 

Using machine translation (MT) frees up countless hours and fees that would be required to have an experienced translator do the work. Unfortunately, this comes with a major drawback when doing legal translation: security and confidentiality issues. When you're using software from a third-party, you have no idea of what will happen with the data that is translated after you're finished. This poses a threat to any person or case that's being worked on since you don't want sensitive information getting into the hands on any random person. On the other hand, when combined with a language service provider, MT is great for e-discovery work, saving much time and money as public documents are translated at the click of the mouse.  

Any of these four language technology solutions can be used, in conjunction with experienced language service providers, to create cost saving legal translation strategies. 

Hong Kong-based translation service, JDE Global provides a comprehensive translation services for clients around the globe.