Language translation services translate documents, web sites, product information and personal communications into one more human languages. They may also provide authoring, editing, publishing, content management, and translation management services. Language translation services translate and interpret documents for multinational corporations, government agencies, schools and universities, and other organizations that require internationalization and localization. Internationalization is the process of designing a product such as a web site or software to work in multiple languages. Localization involves adapting the product to account for local or national language features. For example, language translation services that work with software companies may translate error messages into multiple languages for use within a single code base.
Language translation services use many different tools and technologies; however, there are three basic types of language translation software: automatic, on-the-fly, and hybrid. Automatic translation software or global translation software is designed to translate an entire document at one time. These machine translation (MT) applications are used mainly with longer documents and usually provide multi-language translation. On-the-fly translation software is used to translate individual words or phrases, typically in shorter documents such as Web pages or email. Hybrid products are not pure translation programs, but provide translation-related tools such as a verb conjugator, dictionary, and spell checker. Larger language translation services may also use global information management (GIM) systems to build foreign language glossaries for international markets.
Language translation services differ in terms of capabilities and cost. Some companies can translate English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, or Arabic into one or more other languages. Others can also account for variations in American English and British English. Translators and interpreters often help salespeople and other business personnel negotiate contracts with foreign buyers, suppliers, and governments. The cost of translation and interpretation services varies by supplier capabilities, geographic location, and application requirements.