The main competitor of every translator on today’s market is undoubtedly Google. It’s certainly a useful tool – although most clients are now savvy enough to realize that Google translations are not good enough for public consumption when reflecting on corporate images (annual reports, investment prospectuses, websites etc.). But it is surely the quickest and cheapest option for texts used only in-house (letters, emails, memos, reports and updates among departments in different countries), slashing translation services market work volumes (and consequently translator incomes) by at least half. No human brain can compete with zero cost and TATs (turnaround times) measured in minutes rather than hours or days.
BUT … here’s the good news! In contrast with Human Translation Machine translation is still unable to produce polished output that accurately reflects the nuances of source texts. No matter how huge a TM (translation memory) database may be, it cannot ‘hear’ pace, rhythm and tone. Far less can it produce prose that is appealing, enlightening and enlivening enough to attract readers and grip their attention. So here are a few ideas on how to out-quality Google Translate.
Caveat: these suggestions are focused primarily on upgrading your style in English, although they may also work to some extent in other languages.
So … to compete effectively with Google, scatter these literary devices throughout your translations, but sparsely for maximum effect – think tabasco, not mayonnaise!