What Is The Difference Between Human Translation And Machine Translation?

What Is The Difference Between Human Translation And Machine Translation?

The translation industry has changed with time, and now in the era of technology, things turned smoother, especially when we speak about machine translation. This true revolution changed humans’ lives. It became an everyday use at work, for studies, and even to chat with people around the globe. But did that affect the human translation online? Is it the same accurate and error-free? To find this out, we need to know the difference between machine and human translation, so let’s start.

What Are A Human Translation And Its Pros And Cons?

Professional human translation is done by a freelancer or someone hired by a translating agency. Usually, they are native speakers or someone very fluent in a target language, even the rare ones. This fact ensures the accuracy of what needs to be translated. You may say that machine translation is much faster than a human (obviously, it’s a con of human work), and it’s true, sometimes it might take more time for the translator to get it done, but the vital factor of a perfect translation is accuracy. The machine cannot find an ideal interpretation of your words and ideas and cannot preserve puns and other stylistic devices. The machine will just translate everything, word by word. It is evident that speed has less importance than accuracy.

Moreover, you can always get in touch with your translator, especially if you work via the human translation platform. There you can discuss some phrases, consult on better options for your translation, ask questions about the work, and clarify what you expect from each other. You can even discuss the shape and the style of the document to translate.

Last but not least, as the translators are natives, they know the cultural sensitivity, so they will make sure that the translation does not lead to conflicts and misunderstanding. It does make the quality higher, as we know every culture is different, and if we want them to use our services and buy our products, we must meet the requirements and be respectful of the culture.

What Are Machine Translation And Its Pluses And Minuses?

A machine translation is done by computers using AI to guess the meaning of each word. Of course, it is done much faster than human translation, but most of the time, it is less accurate, and that can cost a lot for companies if there is a mistake that their customers will not appreciate and will not understand. If you are a business, you want to be trusted by the audience. If you have errors all over the website, for example, your future customers will have a lot of doubts and won’t buy anything; which means you will lose money. And if your mistakes are offensive, it can harm your reputation; and it means you will spend even more money to recover.

But let’s come back to the speed. As machines do it, the speed will be a huge plus. It means it can be helpful even for email translation and fast communication, but when we speak about a standard full text, machines still cannot guess the correct meaning. Also, machines cannot guess the context. In every language, there is a word with two or more meanings, and unfortunately, the machines still cannot detect the correct meaning to use. You can see what can happen if the machine confuses the meaning, and it’s just a small example. Let us take the word “Bar” as an example; it has to mean a Bar or a Bar of chocolate.

Thus, you will need humans at least for proofreading. It may save you money if you have a tight budget.

But nowadays, NMT ( neural machine translation ) is doing a great job because it tries to understand how humans communicate, which can become a threat to human translation in the future. Because if the machines are well developed to the level of thinking as a human brain, the accuracy will be higher, but this time did not come yet.

Another benefit of machine translation is the price of such services, which is cheap compared to human translation rates. There are even free translation engines such as Google, Yandex, Microsoft Translator, etc. You copy and paste the text, then click translate after choosing the desired language. And all are done! But we already spoke about accuracy 🙂

How To Choose What Will Be The Best For You

Human Translation

  • When accuracy is important
  • When you are ready to wait to get the best quality
  • When you are going global
  • When you are working with legal, medical, etc. documents
  • When you are translating marketing material and need to reach a new specific audience
  • When the translation is a part of your localization

Machine Translation

  • When only the general meaning matters and there are no specific terms
  • When the translation is not going to reach your audience, for example, some internal instructions for workers when accuracy is not needed
  • When you have a tight budget and prefer humans to proofread the document
  • When you don’t have time to wait

Wrapping Up

Now it is clear that both services have pros and cons and satisfy a need for companies or individuals as business owners. You can choose the best option for your business based on your purposes.

But remember that accuracy is more important than anything, so human translation is the most excellent option. Investing in it is money-saving because, as we mentioned before, a mistake can be costly. But for personal use, the machine translation is OK as it will not cause conflicts and misunderstanding, and it is free, which is a great plus.


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