If you are at all involved in Global Screening, you have been exposed to web pages, papers, and articles written in a language other than English that you will desperately want to read. In my work, I am constantly trying to read documents in other languages.
If you are translating official documents, you may want to contract with a language company. Services can be very expensive seeing as they are often charged by the word and usually have a minimum per-project fee. However, many companies allow you to keep your translated word dictionary (referred to as “translation memory”) and may charge half price for a re-translated word. If you are translating documents that contain personally identifiable information about an individual, be sure to meet any legal and privacy (including cross-border transfer) requirements when using a third party.
Short of a third-party translation vendor? Here’s what you can do.
There are a few good, free online translation programs available. These are machine translations; no human is involved. I use Microsoft Translator (the only company I know of offering Klingon translations) and Google Translate most often. Sometimes I need to use both, since the translations can be difficult.
Bing Translator: http://www.bing.com/translator
Google Translate: https://translate.google.com/
There are other programs out there, but I have not evaluated them.
With both Bing and Google, you can copy and paste text for translation. You can also paste a link into the search box and often click on the result box with a translated link.
Result by clicking the link in the right (results) box:
Google also allows for a document to be uploaded. It doesn’t work all the time, but when it works, it can be a great time saver.
- I do not recommend machine translation for official documents such as consents or contracts. These documents need to be professional and accurate in the local language. However, to read general documents, web pages, or articles, the online translation machines can be a great aid.
- The more common the language, the better the machine translation. The rarer the language, the more difficulties you will encounter getting a comprehensible translation. French and Spanish are well translated; Romanian and Malay will be more difficult.
- Some websites will not translate using one vendor, but will work in another. Then there are some websites that refuse translation, and you must copy line by line into the translation portal, if you even can copy something from the website.
- Results from machine translations can be great entertainment, since the translations can be imperfect. (Now you know how all those instructions are translated that you cannot make sense of.)
| Kerstin Bagus – Director, Global Initiatives
Kerstin Bagus supports ClearStar’s Global Screening Program as its Director of Global Initiatives. She has more than 30 years of background screening industry experience, working for a variety of firms, large and small. Kerstin is one of the few individuals in the industry who is privacy-certified through the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) for Canada, the EU, and the U.S.
Kerstin is a passionate participant in the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and is a current member of the Board, in addition to participating on several committees. She also participates on IFDAT’s Legal Committee, with a primary focus on global data privacy.
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