Is it time for the machines to take over?

For quite some time, companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple have been diving into the world of translation, with their machine translation tools. The most famous (or infamous, depending on what you think) of these is Google Translate.

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In ten years of Google Translate, the programme has gone from supporting two languages to 103. More than 500 million of us use Google Translate which translates more than 100 billion words a day. The main languages translated are English, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese and Indonesian. Brazilians are known to use Google Translate more than any other country.

Who uses Google Translate?

Based on Google Translates figures, half a billion- that is an insane amount of people! Google Translate has become our online bilingual dictionary- finding words, phrases or even an entire page of text.

Can you trust Google Translate?

Yes and no. You cannot deny its ability to translate.

But a machine can not physically understand the meaning of a sentence. It can translate it word for word- but would the translation flow with the same effect as it would in its source language?

The simple answer is NO. Word for word translation is like Joey writing Monica and Chandler’s adoption letter in Friends:

“Monica: Alright, what was this sentence originally? (shows the sentence to Joey)

Joey: Oh, ‘They are warm, nice, people with big hearts’.

Chandler: And that became ‘they are humid prepossessing Homo Sapiens with full sized aortic pumps…?

Joey: Yeah, yeah and hey, I really mean it, dude.”

What do you think? Sound the same?

But Google hasn’t stopped there!

They now have a Neutral Machine Translation (GNMT). The programme is trained with translations in the hope that it’ll eventually bring out perfect translations, or as close to a human translation as possible. Google translate works on a piece by piece method as I said earlier. So, it will see a whole sentence and translate word for word, rather than looking for the meanings behind the sentence (as a human would) and translate to the best of their ability what the source text means. This new version works on huge volumes of human-translated text- it learns from what it has been taught.

Impressed? But would you want this programme to translate important documents? Sensitive, legal documents? I think not…

So, what about Google’s competition?

‘iTranslate – Your Passport to the World’

iTranslate is an app that works just like Google Translate. The online website states that ‘With iTranslate you can translate text or websites, start voice conversations, lookup words, meanings and even verb conjugations in over 90 languages’. Who wouldn’t want that on their phone?! It would be an ideal travel companion. Able to recognise your voice, translate offline to save on roaming charges. iTranslate also gives you access to previous translations.

Well, on the whole, this sounds great. Does exactly want someone would want – quick and easy translations direct to your phone. You don’t even need an iPhone – Works with various Android and Windows phones as well.

But, do you trust it? This would be ideal if you wanted to go on holiday and didn’t know certain terms or words. Would you really allow this programme to translate your website? Maybe not….

Maybe trust a trained translator writing in their own native language with experience and qualifications to translate some of the most important documents you could have!

Week Three as an Intern at Lingua Translations- Calum

Week 3

I mainly spent the beginning of this week recruiting new Translators. I was scouring CVs to find the best translators to work for Lingua Translations. It was important to ensure that the translators were right for the upcoming projects and also that they met Lingua Translations’ strict criteria which includes 5 years of professional experience. It was great to get in contact with prospective translators!

This week, inspired by the British and Irish Lions Tour, I was able to write a blog post all about the New Zealand Maori language. This was excellent as I could combine my two passions – sport and languages. It was interesting to research Maori terms and discover the language’s history. You can check out the blog post here:

I’ve been very busy this week managing several projects. I love working as a Project Manager, it feels great to follow the evolution of the project from beginning to end, finalise projects and remain in contact with clients and translators throughout. Under the supervision of our Senior Project Manager, I have been managing projects for a few weeks now. I am now feeling very comfortable with the process of Project Management. I can’t wait to start new projects next week!

Week two as an Intern at Lingua Translations – Calum

Calum: Week two

Welsh Flag 1600 × 960As a proud Welshman and fluent Welsh speaker, this week I took on the task of translating Lingua Translations’ website into yr hen iaith (the old language). Having spent the year studying my MA through the medium of English it was great to have the chance to use formal Welsh again, although I haven’t missed dealing with the complicated world of mutations and Welsh grammar! This was a great opportunity to familiarise myself with Welsh terms in a variety of domains such as legal, medical, business etc. The diverse content of the website meant that I was actually able to learn a few Welsh words that I had never heard in my 20+ years of speaking the language, such as the Welsh for Zulu, Uzbek and Ukranian (If you’re interested: Zwlŵeg, Wsbeceg amd Wcreineg respectively) Whether I’ll use these words again however will remain to be seen! Thanks to this task, I now feel like I have a pretty good idea of how to build, edit and publish a website.

In the past, I’ve completed various internships at other companies where my role was shadowing members of staff or carrying out small tasks which had little to do with the actual running of the company. This is definitely not the case at Lingua Translations! This week I had the opportunity to project manage a live job. Taking on the role of a PM has been my favourite task so far! It was great to speak to clients, respond to their requests and build their project from scratch. I enjoyed getting into contact with the translators who were extremely friendly and eager to take on the task. I can’t wait to take on my next project and face all the challenges that come with being a PM.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere in the office. I especially like listening to a different international radio station every day. Despite not being able to understand a word of some of the stations, it’s great to hear songs in different languages and find out which ones are popular in each country. Although no matter which station/country we choose, it seems that the whole world is only listening to Despacito at the moment!

Week one as an intern at Lingua Translations – Calum

My first day working as an intern at Lingua Translations has arrived!

After weeks of feeling nervous and not knowing what to expect the day is finally here. As soon as I arrived today I was warmly welcomed and made to feel at ease. I have friendly and patient colleagues who were willing to answer any questions that Nada, my fellow intern, and I had. We were introduced to Wordbee, Lingua Translations’ CAT tool of choice, as well as the role of a PM. Right now Nada and I are rather confused (to be expected I’m told). There’s a lot of information to remember. I’m looking forward to getting to grips with project management and developing new skills.

Having spent the last few months translating texts as part of my MA, I’m now looking forward to experiencing the commercial side of the translation industry. As well as working with fellow linguists in a project management role. As a Law and French graduate, I’d like to gain more experience working with legal texts. I’m passionate about football and rugby. I am hoping that I’ll be able to work on some sport-related projects, especially with the Lions Tournament in New Zealand. I also hope that I’ll be able to fulfil the role of a project manager effectively and confidently by the end of the internship! Hopefully I’ll be able to learn about all aspects of working for a LSP not just those which are translation-related.


My first day has left me wondering why I was so nervous.

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My colleagues are lovely and helpful, and have really made me feel at home here at the office. Doing an internship was definitely the right choice for completing my MA. I am so glad that I’m able to do it at Lingua Translations. Let’s say I’m looking forward to seeing what the next few weeks will have in store!

Why work with us at Lingua Translations?

At Lingua Translations, you will be surrounded by incredibly passionate, talented, experienced, smart, and friendly people from a myriad of backgrounds. The background of everyone in the team is very diverse, and the aggregate level of expertise is amazing. Everyone has a speciality (be it Project Management, Marketing, Web development and of course languages), and everyone is very willing to share their knowledge and experience. You can rest assured that everyone at Lingua Translations will happily take time out of their day to share documents, best practices, or information that was requested.

Why work with us as a freelancer?

We do the hard work of marketing and finding clients, so you as a translator can focus on translation itself.

If you are corresponsive, professional in what you do, pass our vetting procedures and deliver on time, we will be more than happy to work with you. Also, you would not have to worry about dealing with sometimes “demanding” clients as that’s when our Project Managers come in to communicate with them and only pass on the relevant and necessary information specific to you in an always friendly manner.

Why work with us as a client?

As a client, you might feel sometimes overwhelmed or lost in how the translation industry actually works. You have a document which needs to be translated into one or several other languages and you don’t know where to start or how to find the appropriate person for this job.

Whatever area of business, industry or sector your documents and materials etc. involve, we will find you a highly experienced expert translator who has an in-depth understanding of the relevant subject matter. At Lingua Translations we will make sure to provide you with a high quality translation with all of the technical, specialist language you require.

Lingua Translations is managed by academically trained, experienced linguists. Throughout our whole company, we are all multilingual language geeks – so we understand the industry better than anyone! We fully understand the needs of the project you require for your target audience. With over 5000 linguists, 157 languages and 2000 language combinations – we’ve got it covered!

Naomie’s Blog as an intern | Week 11

Week 11 – Naomie

I mentioned in my last blog that I was excited to learn that I would be doing project management this week, and it was indeed fun to work on the projects that I was assigned.

I enjoyed talking to clients and translators, and it was also great to add to my knowledge of how to navigate and make changes to the company’s database. Of course, when you’re upstairs that also means that you’re likely to answer phone calls, which was fun to do as well.

Nonetheless, it turned out that this was a much quieter week than the previous week, so I also had time to do a practice translation and to do some research on legal translation. As usual, I enjoyed the translation exercise and building on my knowledge of French terms! As for my research in legal translation-fortunately, there is a lot of information out there on how to enter the field, so if you’re willing to do some research, you can find some good advice.

Looking forward to another week with the team!