In a rapidly shrinking world, best described as globalization, there is a greater need to understand each other more than ever before. Modern innovations such as the internet, mobile devices, and social media platforms are blurring international borders— making it easier for the world to connect. Hence, the increasing need for more translators and translation software.

There are around 7,111 languages spoken today worldwide. The number is regularly in flux as linguistics continue to uncover more dialects in the course of their career.

Although there is a presence of internationally spoken languages like English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, and a few more, they are not all eligible to be taught all over the world. Therefore, the services offered by translators and translation software will continue to be in constant demand as different nationalities interact with one another.

In this article, we shall be focusing more on translation software services.

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This post has been updated in August 2021.

What is Translation Software?

We can describe translation software as a digital program enabling the masses to translate written or spoken words from one language to another. The software requires digital devices as the main component for it to work correctly. Most of them use internet connectivity. However, some are usable offline, but only to limited functionality.

Some reasons for the spike in the use of translation software over the years is due to:

  • Increased quality levels during translation
  • Advancement of technological innovation
  • Growth of international businesses
  • Accelerated globalization agenda
  • The speeding up of the translation process

For some translation software, they are more than merely a translating solution for the user interface; they are also localization software. Many multi-national organizations are using such localization mechanisms in overcoming cultural and regional barriers. By adapting the software solution to the cultural, technical, and linguistic needs of the targeted audience, businesses can appeal to a broader audience.

Not all localization and translation software are the same. Such software comes in different types and conditions. Let’s have a look at some of them, shall we?

translation software how to translate with software

Types of Translation Software Available

Many translation agencies and corporations currently require translators, especially those employed as freelancers, to use such software packages when working on translation projects. Here is an overview description of the most common translation technologies in use. Many translation tools will contain all the types listed below:

1. Machine/ Automated translation

This translation is done only by a machine having no human involvement. Its benefit includes the faster delivery of new content due to its integration into the translation environment.

2. Translation Memory

It works by capturing your translations and creating a linguistic database. The captured data will act as a source of information for the target sentences, also referred to as translation units, for future re-use. Its benefit will be a faster translation with no same sentences translated twice.

3. Terminology/ Translation Management

This type includes a searchable database storing terms like a product-specific terminology. Likewise, it has rules on its usage in terms of description or gender. Its benefit includes usage of the right word, always leading to higher translation usage.

4. Software Localization

These tools help localize all elements such as icons, strings, and menu dialogs contained within the software. Its benefit involves speeding up the translation of new types of content.

What do Translation Software and Services Offer?

The right translation software and service should be able to break down language barriers allowing the user to communicate in a foreign language.

As a business searching for this offer, you should decide between commissioning a translation service utilizing human translators or purchasing a translation software.

Translation software is best suited for businesses engaging in routinely, low-stake communication globally. It can also satisfy clients that need a comfortable but fast tool enabling fast pace translation. Such clients are mostly translating documents that do not need a perfect translation.

The translation software mostly contains translation memories and context dictionaries. These two features allow users to retrieve and save translations easily, making them re-usable in the future. You can also integrate most of the translation software to Microsoft Office applications and email.

However, if you are working in a high-stake environment where translation mistakes can be costly, it is best that you consider translation services. Such situations include the ordering of business materials and the provision of customer services.

The best translation service providers naturally hire native language speakers, conversant with the local culture and language.  Some will also employ accredited translators by the American Translators Association or any other regulator reputable in the industry.

Moreover, companies can select human translators based on their specialties and knowledge of the industry. Their work will involve translating campaigns, documents, phrases, websites, or words in context. As relationships mature between the client and provider, translation services will increase in their accuracy.

Key Features of Translation Software

  • Visual aid: Alerts the translator whenever they make a mistake or miss some details in their project. It is more of intuition but as a machine software.
  • Translation updates in real-time: It allows automatic saving of changes made during translation. Moreover, it increases collaboration efficiency. Translators can know the location of their fellow collaborators when using the same language page.
  • Automatic translation: works with search engine translation tools such as Google enabling translators to fill in missing translations automatically.
  • Smart translation memory: the feature searches through all previous translations for reuse in the future. Hence, it reduces the amount of work volume as you do not have to keep translating the same strings in multiple times.

By now, you will have noticed that there is no significant difference between the types and key features of the translation software.

What Should You Look for in Translation Software?

1. Languages Available

Looking at the supported languages should be the first consideration when looking for a potential software. Some software can have a dozen languages contained in a single product. For most software, they will offer specific language pairs such as English and Italian. These pairs are usually separately purchased products.

Thus, the best translation software should be multilingual. In other words, one program containing several dialects.

2. Adequate Help & Support

Most translation software caters for telephone and email support in their program. However, others have gone a step further and include a more convenient communication solution dubbed as live chat.

Other customer support options provided can include user forums and FAQs.

Please ensure that whatever software you choose is offering support channels most essential to you and the parties involved.

3. Types of Supported Files and Formats

If you have a lot of translation work that is ordinarily diverse in nature, having a product capable of managing a large selection of file formats is essential. The best software should allow the user to work with popular business programs like Microsoft Suite. Likewise, the user should be able to work in various file formats.

Kindly ensure that the software is compatible with the operating system, such as iOS, Linux, or window used. In the age of smartphone dominance, the software should also be compatible with all major mobile operating systems. Thus, every user can easily access the translation software services on their phone.

the best translation software and how to use it

4. Features and Capabilities

The best business translation software should easily distinguish the working language of the user in addition to enabling a seamless conversion of document types into other dialects. The software should also allow all parties involved to write an email in their preferred tongues but have it delivered in the ideal language of the recipient.

Moreover, the best document must have a diversity of features that will lead to an enhanced translation experience. Standard useful features should include:

  • Text-to-speech capability helping you learn correct punctuation
  • Instant language recognition
  • Integrated spell-checker
  • Batch processing of file folders filled with documents

Potential Issues that Translation Software Should Tackle

  • Failure to use reasonable and straightforward text familiar to the software users.
  • Maintenance in the length of translated words: Neglecting the span might cause the redesigning of the system to suit the translated language. The changes might take much valuable time.
  • Failure to offer coherent and accurate content in the users’ language: Scrambled instructions and commands can make understanding difficult after translation.
  • Disregarded characteristics and localization elements of region or geography: Examples include number format, address structure, date format, postal code structure, and calendar format.

Benefits of Translation Software

  1. Deeper market penetration: By localizing products and services to the targeted region or country, businesses can reach new potential customers.
  2. Enhanced commitment to foreign customers: By offering websites and even products in the local tongue, companies can prove their commitment to an international clientele. Such consideration will make the customers feel more comfortable, appreciated and secure when dealing with the company.
  • Effective and Efficient Communication with International Customers and Partners: Through product localization, it is easy to reduce international customer support expenses. Localization helps reduce the number of received support calls. It also results in better user experience as international clients can understand the product better.
  1. Boosted competitive edge: English is not the only business language. Businesses need to talk to their customers in the native tongue of their country. Therefore, by localizing their services and product early, they will increase their competitive edge over their competitor.
  2. Enhanced local and international language: Having a localized website enhances your business to project a powerful international image. When it comes to serving customers both locally and internationally, this sharp image is quite remarkable.
  3. Reduced liability and copyright infringement: Effective translation of product use agreements, contracts, and other crucial documents can aid in minimizing conflicts arising due to miscommunication and language barriers. Furthermore, many countries demand that products sold in their turf should communicate in the official local language(s).

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Final Remarks

As businesses looking for overall success, especially in foreign markets, translation software is a must-have tool. In this article, I’ve elaborated on their usefulness in the globalized world. Hence, be keen on understanding your translation needs before procuring one for use.