The human side of our translation business

Like so many industries, the translation business is changing. Computer-assisted translation, machine translation, increased automation—it’s all a part of where the industry is going. Will machine translation ever be good enough to replace humans? It’s a common question these days, especially in light of Google’s much-touted advances in neural machine translations. But the answer continues to be: it depends on what your needs are. If you need a quick understanding of content, perfect. If you want to send an email to a friend or colleague in another country, sure. But at this point, and for the foreseeable future, when the content really matters, when your voice matters—you still need a human in the mix.

For us as a business, we’re trying to leverage the technology that’s out there to make our processes more efficient. When we can eliminate unnecessary or redundant steps through automation or a quick zap, we’re all about that. But what we don’t want to eliminate is the human element of our business. We actually want to connect with our clients as we’re helping them connect with their audience. We want to pick up the phone and talk to you if you want to talk to us.  We want to walk you through the options and help you understand the best way to accomplish your goals. We want to be there for questions. We’re not a “click, upload your files, receive your files back” kind of business. There’s a place for that, but there’s still a place for humans. This point was driven home by a google review we recently received:

Last June, just days before Fathers Day – and the day I was due to arrive to my father’s house for our annual week-long visit, my father died unexpectedly. You might wonder what this has to do with a translating service review? I think anyone who loses a parent (or anyone close to them really) unexpectedly has a lot to deal with immediately following the death. And it is such a dark and difficult time. To complicate matters, my father died in another country but still had business dealings in Chicago and everyone wanted a copy of his death certificate. Of course no one would accept a copy of his death certificate as it was in Spanish. We offered to translate it but were told it would need to be certified. As I sat at my sister’s apartment late on a Monday night, having had a few libations and sobbing on and off, I was trying to work through the mountain of things we had to do. I started looking for a translator service that could do a quick turn around on a simple, one page (but legal government document) – with certification. I happened across Multilingual Connections. I liked their site and decided to send out several requests so that we would hopefully get some information back the following day. I sent a late night message (probably somewhat incoherent) and immediately heard back from Jill Bishop – the owner. (At almost 10 pm!) First, she sent condolences on the loss of my father. Then, she agreed to turn it around in one day and it a VERY SIGNIFICANT discount. The other companies wanted hundreds of dollars for what she did and at least a few days to do it! It was such a blessing to have found them. I can’t tell you what a beacon of kindness Jill and her staff were to us during that dark time and restored a bit my faith in humanity. The people who lend you a helping hand during a difficult time will always be remembered. I think it is a true testament to the kind of business they operate. I would recommend them highly – because the job was fantastic, timely and a great price – but more importantly because they are good humans.

I can’t express how touched I when I read this review, and how proud I was to have played a very small role in helping during a very difficult time. We want to be here as a resource for all of our clients, through good and bad. We want to help you navigate an increasingly multilingual world, so please reach out and let us know how we can help.