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Human Translation is Better than Machine Translation

As companies widen their reach and open offices in newer geographic locations, the need to have all their information translated into the local language arises. This growing requirement has led to a huge demand for high-quality translation services.

One of the ways to get free translation services immediately is to get your content translated by an automated translation tool. Machine translation (MT) is the process of converting a string of words in one human language into a string of words in another human language. Various software available in the market perform this conversion of content at the simple click of a button. However, the accuracy level of text translated by a machine translator is lesser as compared to the accuracy level of text translated by human translators.

Where Does Machine Translation Falter?

Even though machine translation is getting pretty advanced, it still does not achieve the quality of human translation. This is since MT technology is neither as complex as human language nor as sophisticated as a human translator. In MT, a computer's knowledge of words resides in a lexicon. This lexicon usually contains information of 250,000 to 500,000 words. This is a rather small amount of words as compared to the number of words available in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which contains 500,000,000 words! MT works best on common words and in subject areas that do not depend on jargon.

It is not economically feasible to develop MT packages to translate across all the languages in the world, but products are available for most of the languages used in international business.

Machine Translation - An Overview

  1. Speed - This is an area where the computer excels, however the translated content would still need further editing. While a machine translation tool will translate your content immediately, it will not be very accurate.
  2. Subject matter - In this case, a computer has an advantage, provided an extensive amount of the vocabulary and technical terms have been added into the computer's dictionary.
  3. Level of accuracy - This depends on the dictionary installed in the software, if not, a considerable amount of time would need to be spent editing the content.
  4. Consistency of vocabulary - Assuming that correct prerequisite dictionary building has been done, the computer will be able to provide a standardized output unlike human translators.
  5. Volume - This has been the main Unique Selling Proposition of MT. Huge volumes of content can be translated immediately.
  6. Expense - Given the computer's enormous speed, it brings down the cost of translation.

Nevertheless, those who have relied on MT do not have a great story to share. Those who have invested in MT have usually ended up paying double as they invested in expensive high end machines and also spent time upgrading the dictionary.

So, if you are looking for more than just the gist of the content, it would be best to refrain from machine translation. Outsource your translation requirements to a human translator, who is well-versed with both the languages - the source language as well as the target language.

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