According to recent studies, there are between 400 to 500 million speakers of the Spanish language, making it the third most spoken language in the world after Mandarin and English. The market for free Spanish translation, as you can imagine, is massive. This is all the more so since Spanish is the primary language in most Latin American countries which represent massive, largely untapped markets. Clearly, the demand for free Spanish translation services has never been greater.
If you are looking for Spanish translation services, you have two options at your disposal: hire a professional translator, or try out a free translation service. Both of these options have their pros and cons, as we will see.
Hiring a professional Spanish translator can be prohibitively expensive. If you want to translate into/from Spanish in languages other than English, the costs will go even further up. But at the same time, with a professional translator, you can be reasonably sure of the service quality. You can hire a translator at any number of freelancing websites. Be sure to check the translator’s ratings, feedback, whether he/she is a native speaker, what other languages he/she speaks, and qualifications (if any).
Free Spanish translation services represent the other end of the spectrum. There are a number of free websites and software programs that you can use to translate a document in Spanish, the most common one being Google Translator and Babelfish. While these free Spanish translation services do a reasonable job, they are far from foolproof. For translating casual phrases or conversations, these are perfect. But for more important, complexly worded documents, you will find these services less than adequate.
The reason being that translation from one language to another is an art, not a science. A translator needs to not only have a very strong command over two languages, but also understand the culture of each country. After all, there are so many colloquial phrases that are common in one country, virtually unknown in another. Any American who has traveled to England (and vice versa) will have reams of stories about this. The differences between two countries speaking different languages will be far more enormous.
Free Spanish translation services improved tremendously over the past few years. Instead of replacing words literally from a dictionary, these translation services have evolved to incorporate artificial intelligence and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) to ensure greater accuracy. However, there are still major loopholes that can be corrected only by a human translator.
In essence, free Spanish translation services are a lifesaver if you want to translate a word, phrase, or part of a conversation from one language to another, but if you want to get an important document translated, you will be better off with help from a professional.