Most businesses have clients, contractors or offices in countries that don’t speak English as a first language. Even if you don’t, you’re going to need to translate a document sooner or later. Unless you happen to be a linguist, when that day comes you’ll probably reach for an online translation service. But there is more than one. Google Translate doesn’t always do a perfect or even a comprehensible job. Here are five alternatives that offer serious competition.
Google Translate has one major factor going for it – apart from the brand recognition that comes with that Google name. It’s free. Not all the alternatives are, but if you’re looking for a quality translation for professional purposes these are all a lot cheaper than hiring a translator!
UnBabel is free for the first 150 words. You insert your text into a field and select your target language. It uses similar machine learning technology to Google Translate but then sends the finished translation to a human translator to be proofed and corrected. If you want credible communication with non-English speakers, consider UnBabel. Of the options it’s probably the fastest and most efficient. However, it’s not the most in-depth.
Price: $0.03 per word
Much like UnBabel, Gengo lets you insert text and then select your target language. It comes with the advantage that you can simultaneously translate text to multiple languages and has a very wide range of languages, though this drives the cost up fast. It also helps you select an appropriate tone, helpfully based on where you intend to publish the result. It’s more comprehensive than UnBabel; it’s also more expensive.
Price: $0.12 per word
Most of us know Duolingo as a language learning site. But it also offers translation services. You can have a document ‘crowd translated. It’s free for individuals, but businesses should email for a quote.
Price: email for by-the-job quote
Yes, it’s a subreddit. Users will sometimes translate individual words or short pieces of text for free, and you can negotiate prices with individuals for larger pieces. Consider /r/forhire too, if this route interests you: you can find freelance translators who will quote you for your text.
Translate.com offers both machine translation and human translation. It’s free, but sometimes you don’t get what you don’t pay for: there’s no guarantee that a human translator will see your text. If they don’t you’re no better off than if you’d used Google Translate.