Machine Translations with a Human Touch

By Elizabeth Ross

Can’t trust a machine translation but need to get the general idea?  In a world where being successful means you need to act fast, getting a traditional translation can simply take too long and have a price tag that leaves you, well, wordless.  The alternative – using a machine translation – seems just as problematic; a garbled text that is as unreadable as the original.  Recognizing a gap in the market, Straker Translations came up with a unique solution, a mono-lingual translation.

Those taking advantage of Straker Translation’s innovative blend of technology and human translation are varied.  Lawyers needing to read through documents before court, companies preparing tenders or businesses using e-discovery to mine through documents for relevant information.

Merryn Straker, Vice President of Operations for Straker Translations, explains: “Clients come to us with urgent documents they need to read through to get the general idea but naturally can’t trust a machine translation to provide something readable.  We use our purpose built technology to translate the document and then have a native language translator work through the document to ensure the text makes sense. We use technology to speed up the translation but it’s a human translator that produces the outcome.  We can provide translations quickly and at a very low cost to the client – which they seem to like!”

Because their main business is multilingual translations, clients have the option of coming back and purchasing a more traditional human translation of the relevant sections, an efficient way of cutting costs and time in a global market where faster is usually first.

And evidence shows that clients more than like it. Their repeat clients have grown from 9% to a massive 40% this year and new business is rolling in the doors at a rate that has seen their offices double in less than 18 months. With business growth exponential, Straker Translations are set to take on even more of the market, an industry estimated at US$34 billion.