Here at Linnworks, we have been doing a lot of development to accommodate cross-border trading in our software solution. Whether or not the majority of international online retailers are using software to optimize their productivity, there will come a point and time in which they will have to consider their options for translation.
Human vs machine
The first question a business owner would have to ask themselves is; “what type of translation services are there?” This is likely followed by “Is this within my budget?”
In short, there are two types of translation services at your disposal, Machine Translation and Professional Human Translation. In regards to financial implications, you can guess for yourself which is likely to burn a bigger hole in your pocket.
For the purpose of this article, we are going to be looking further into Machine Translation, the most cost effective solution of the two. It is important to understand that Machine Translation is not perfect. Machine Translators struggle to stay in touch with the evolution of language within different cultures or nationalities (colloquialisms). A Machine Translator can translate a sentence, but not a concept.
Aside from being the cheaper alternative, Machine Translation is by far a faster, almost instant solution. You can upload multi-lingual content such as Blog Articles, Newsletters or even Listing Descriptions into a Machine Translator and expect a fast turnaround time.
- In reference to ‘Inside Google Translate’, Google Translate supports up to 80 languages.
- The Bing Help Page states that Bing Translator supports up to 47 different languages.
In Summary, Google Translate quite clearly leads the race with the number of languages that it supports. Providing that both are able to translate your desired language(s), this should not have too much influence on which service you choose to use. Quality over Quantity remember?
Interface/ Ease of Use.
In terms of interface, both options are relatively similar providing an input & output field with auto-detect functionality – auto-detecting the language inputted and outputting the content in the target language. If looking to translate a web page, you are able to enter in the URL of said web page into both input fields for translation. However when we tried to translate http://linnworks.com, Bing Translator did so with ease while Google Translate experienced some issues.
In summary, both have relatively simple interfaces to help you figure out what you have to do. Depending on what you are aiming to translate, both offer great ease of use.
Quality of Translation.
This particular metric is hard to gauge. By all means, you can dedicate your life to translating different variants of simple and complex text into multiple languages and compare results, but you are unlikely to have enough time for that. You might be interested to understand how machine translation works, check out this 3-minute video on Google Translate.
Putting them to test
Earlier I generated some content to trial on each translator to see the results. Unfortunately, I am not fluent in Spanish myself. Fortunately my Spanish colleague Beatriz, was on hand to proofread the results. Highlighted in red are the differences between the Google Translate product and Bing Translator’s translation.
Mi nombre es Sam Goodman y escribí este artículo sobre la traducción automática. Si ustedtiene éxito en dechiphering esta traducción, yoestaría encantado de ofreceruna sesión de demostración personal libre dela traducción automática y la automatización de la traducción en elsoftware Linnworks. Puede ponerse en contactoconmigo en firstname.lastname@example.org. Espero con interés escuchar deusted pronto.
Mi nombre es Sam Goodman y escribí este artículo sobre traducción automática. Si tiene éxito en dechiphering esta traducción, estaría encantado de ofrecerle una sesión de demostración personal gratuita sobre la traducción automática y la automatización de la traducción dentro del software Linnworks. Puedes contactar conmigo en email@example.com. Estoy deseando oír de usted pronto.
Professional human translation
Mi nombre es Sam y fui yo quien escribió el articulo acerca de la traducción automática. Si eres capaz de descifrar esta traducción, estaría encantado de ofrecerte una demostración personal gratuita de como funciona, así de como se automatiza la misma en Linnworks. Puede contactar conmigo en firstname.lastname@example.org. Espero recibir noticias suyas pronto.
As you can see there is a substantial difference between the two machine translated texts. After speaking to Beatriz, she informed me that neither translations made complete sense. Although the Bing Translator version was more accurate, both are unfamiliar with the nuances of the local dialect and are not gender specific. Beatriz very kindly translated my text herself.
In summary, both tools do not provide totally accurate translation. After browsing through some forums, the general opinion is that Bing Translator offers more accuracy. The fastest, most cost effective solution would be to machine translate all of your content and seek a professional to proof read and edit the text where necessary. Translate the Spanish text back into English and see how it translates, you might find more than you bargained for!
The LinnLive2 listing tool has the ability to list to eBay & Amazon’s international sites. But when listing to eBay France, do you want to list in English or French? Well if you want to optimize your sales then that is likely the latter.
Linnworks is able to integrate with both Google & Bing’s API so that you can automatically translate your Titles, Descriptions and Attributes within the software automatically. Eradicating the chore of manually translating the content by copying & pasting, our integration automates this process and stores the data against the corresponding product in the database. This can come at a cost, depending on the amount of content you wish to be translated.
Google Translate usage fees
Google will charge you 20$ per 1M characters of text, however charges are adjusted to match the number of characters translated. For example, if you were to translate 500K characters, you would be billed $10. Google Translate API has a default limit of 2 M chars/day (40$) You can increase this limit up to 50M chars/day at a further cost.
Bing Translator usage fees
To obtain a Bing Translator API key, you will actually have to go to the Windows Azure Marketplace. With Bing, you can actually have 2M characters a month completely free! On Google this would cost you 40$. If you have so much content that 2M is not enough, you can pay 40$ a month for 4M characters. This would cost you 80$ on Google Translate.
To summarise, Bing Translator seems to provide a cheaper/ free service and is favoured amongst users for quality of translation. Perhaps with the extra money you save you can hire a proof-reader to ensure that your content is of consistently high quality!