In our private and professional lives, we are globally connected and communicate with one another, both spoken and written. But do we communicate only in our native language? Definitely not! In how many other languages can you communicate? My first language is German, and I am only fluent in one more language, namely English. My Spanish and French skills are sufficient to ask for directions or order something to eat on holiday or to do a little chat in private, but not for communication at work.

I think that a lot of people are facing the same language barriers as I do. But what can we do to overcome that barrier?

Babel Fish or Universal Translator

To solve our communication problem, we need someone or something to translate for us. What if, as in Douglas Adams’ famous novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, we could insert a little creature, the Babel Fish, into our ears and then understand any language spoken? Or what if there was a universal translator as described, for example, in the science fiction series Star Trek? No matter which language our counterpart speaks, a machine makes it understandable for us.

It would be a fantastic idea to understand all languages with a little animal or some technical device. But the Babel Fish will remain utopia forever, and our translation problem is still not solved.

Machine Translation

Let’s look around for alternatives. There are now numerous machine-based translation systems on the internet or apps that deliver a translation at the push of a button. Google or Bing have translators, and Facebook can also translate posts into other languages. I am sure that you have tried this before, and the results of these translators have often caused (involuntary) laughter if you have language skills of the target language. Machine translations are usually limited to using correspondence patterns at the word level, leaving out syntax (syntactic ambiguities), semantics, or pragmatics. It will remain the case in the near future that machine-based translation tools cannot deliver the same quality as a human translator, yet they offer helpful support.

Natural Language Translation with DeepL Translator

A device that gives excellent results in terms of semantics and syntax is the DeepL Translator. It has been on the market since mid-2017, and DeepL Pro has been available for about two years now, offering a programming interface (API) for developers. Here is a short excerpt from the official press release:

“Based on the DeepL API, developers can create exciting new products such as live video, chat, or email programs that automatically translate for the user in high quality. The integration of the DeepL API into internal business processes enables international companies to overcome the challenges of language barriers easily.”(https://www.deepl.com/en/press.html – Press Release – DeepL Pro)

We had already used DeepL for other translation purposes at work and were very satisfied with the result. So, the decision was made quickly: instant translation via DeepL will be a useful feature for TestBench!

Content-Translation vs. GUI-Translation

To get one thing right: we do NOT use DeepL to translate the user interface of TestBench as this kind of translation is a “static” one. The GUI-translation is done and then provided with every new release or update. And until the next release, nothing must be translated. Of course, we have different language versions for the GUI. Currently available are English, German and Spanish.

What we translate with DeepL is everything flexible and dynamic: the content you enter into TestBench. With a few clicks or even automatically with your predefined selected language, you can instantly translate, for example, the description of a test case.

Example: You are a native speaker of English, so you have set your preferred language to English. Your colleague is a native speaker of Italian, so she has set her preferred language to Italian. You enter text in English; all your colleague has to do is click on the Italian flag icon next to the text to translate it to Italian. And if a native German speaker is sitting next to the Italian colleague, she can translate the content with a few clicks to German. 

Eleven languages are currently available via the DeepL translator: American English, British English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese.

Translate content with a click on the flag icon next to it.

Even if there is a common “project language”, not every team member has the same skills and feels comfortable communicating in that language. TestBench’s instant translation would help everyone a little insecure if they got everything right, to overcome that language barrier. After all, we feel most secure when we communicate in our mother tongue.

 

Graphic Babel Fish: Google.com


Kathrin Kupfer

Kathrin Kupfer works at imbus AG as an online marketing manager. She graduated in German and English linguistics and has been working in various areas of corporate communications and marketing for over 15 years.