PEC Translation

Human Translation Vs Machine Translation

The translation industry is evolving every day. The new technologies are added to further enhance the translation quality and the experience both.


However, this invention of new technologies has given birth to a new debate, i.e. Can machine translations replace Human translators?


There are pros and cons for both. To come to the conclusion we have to look into every aspect of both. Let us look into the details. 

What all is included in Machine Translation?

Machine translations are abbreviated as MT. It works as the mechanical conversion of the words or phrases from one language to another.


It is a computer-generated rendering of the language based on the algorithms inserted in the tools. These tools are fast and simple to use.

Following things can be called in the Machine Translations-


  1. Various Websites such as google translations can be called a toll for machine translations. 
  2. Various mobile apps are also specially developed for translations. 
  3. Next is, some tools are used to help the human translators to get accurate translations. 

Other than this there are four types of machine translations- 


  1. Statistical Machine Translation (SMT)- This process works on the statistical models that are developed by analyzing the large volumes of the languages, sometimes bilingual texts. It is aimed to coordinate between the words from the source language to the target language. Google Translations is the best example of it. The biggest drawback of it is that it performs word-to-word translations without adhering to the context of the content. You may not get satisfied with that. 
  1. Rule-Based Machine Translation (RBMT)-  As the name suggests, RBMT performs on the basis of grammatical rules. To generate the translated sentences, the RBMT does the analysis of the grammar rules of the source language and considers the grammar rules of the target language too while rendering the translations. The converted document from RBMT needs extensive proofreading. You cannot keep the translated content as it is, there is a lot of reworking needed. 
  1. Hybrid Machine Translation (HMT)- This is a combination of RBMT and SMT. This method is much more effective for rendering high-quality content. The HMT also comes with a set of drawbacks. Human translators are required for detailed proofreading and editing.
  1. Neural Machine Translation (NMT)- It is another type of machine translation that works on neural network models. This means it is based on human brains for the purpose of translating the document. The major benefit of this system is that it provides one system which can be trained to encode and decode the source and the target content.    

Benefits of Machine Translation

Faster Translations- The machines can render the content faster than you can think. Definitely faster than the human translators. You just have to give the inputs or upload the file and the rest is done by the machines. 


Less Expensive- Some of the tools are free to use. You do not have to invest anything else while using these tools. Some applications are paid, but they are too nominal. Once you pay for it, you can get it for a particular duration. Sometimes for lifetime membership too. 


Customization is Possible- You can add the related terminologies for future references. This is specifically useful for industry-related translations where one terminology is possibly used in multiple documents. 


Large Volume Covered- The machines know millions and billions of words from various languages. Machine translations can translate much more content than one can think of. Machine translations make it feasible to translate a huge amount of content than ever before. 


Always Updating- The machines are constantly updating with the new technology. There are new techniques that are being applied every day for further development to get accurate translations. 

What is Human Translation?

Human translations are nothing but the rendering of the source content into the target language by actual human translations.


It is a traditional and the most accurate way of getting the translated content. In human translations, there are various options to get it done. They are as follows- 


Doing It by Yourself- The first option that every client thinks of is if he/she can do it himself. This is in case if the client is familiar with both, the source and the target language.


Hiring a Freelance Translator- The next is to hire a freelance writer. These writers are human translators only but they are working independently without being associated with any certified translation agency. They are experts in languages but you cannot be assured that they are following all the necessary steps to get the quality of the translations. 


Hiring a Certified Translation Agency- The most trusted source would be to get the translations done from the agency. You just have to hand over the data or the content to the agency, give them the necessary information and just get the perfectly translated accurate, and certified translations at ease. Many professional businesses prefer hiring a professional translation agency to fulfill their translation needs. As they think of it as the best reliable source. 

Limitations of Machine Translation

1. It is of utmost importance that the translator understands the context of the source data for rendering the language correctly. Machines lack behind in this aspect. Machines cannot consider the context of the data, they will only perform on the basis of what is programmed into them.


2. There are multiple expressions and terms that are used on a local level. These terms when inputted in the machines for the translations will show some weird results. It will not be in adherence to the originality of the content.


3. There are more limitations to technical translations by the machines. These tools are automotive and sometimes cannot explain the meaning of the terminologies that are used in the multiple technology industries.


4. In machine translations, it is very much common that the term from the source data has different interpretations and when it is translated through the machines, the word or a phrase holds an entirely different meaning to it. This affects the quality of the translations.


5. Every language has various cultural backgrounds. The native speakers of those languages speak various rules. Machines completely lack understanding of these differences. Computers have an automotive process they cannot have this capacity.


6. Let us start with an example. For instance, you wish to translate your content from English to Chinese and then in French. You will put the same command in the machines or the application. There are high chances of errors in these three-way translations.


7. You cannot completely rely on machine translations. You will have to do the proofreading and the editing multiple times. This is to check the accuracy and the authenticity of the translations.


8. Machines cannot issue you the certificate of translation like human translations can do. Many legal or medical-related translations need assurance from the translators mentioning that the rendered content is accurate. Machines, tools, or translation websites cannot provide the same to you.


These are the major limitations of getting your translations done from the machines. Now let us see what are the challenges that human translators face?

Challenges faced by Human Translations

Getting the Accuracy– All the client demands that the translation should be 100% accurate. It is not an easy task to achieve this target. In fact, many translators will tell you that it is not possible to get 100% accurate translations. Because any given translations can be rendered in various ways. It depends on the interpretation of the translators, the context, and many other related factors. 


However, there are few things you cannot accept- is that incorrect translations, grammatical mistakes, typo errors, a word-to-word translation that doesn’t go with the meaning of the context. You have to have that level of satisfaction when you receive the translated content. 


Maintaining Cultural Differences– The next step of translation is localization of the content. However, it does not matter if it is a translation or the localisation of the content. The translator has to maintain the countries of the cultural differences. To do this he/she has to be aware of all the related cultures, traditions, and religions. It needs research and a study. 


Competing With Machines– With the new technologies coming up, the translators have to face the competition created in the market. Other than just competing with the other human translators, machine translation is the new challenge. Many clients who need small translations to be done prefer getting it done through various tools. These machine translations cost less and take less time too. 


Things That Cannot Be Translated– Even the expert translators will tell you that there are few things that cannot be translated. For example jargon such as a tweet, or like on social media platforms. In such cases, the translator has to consider the meaning of it and find a word or a phrase that resonates with the original phrase. 


Translating Words With Multiple Meanings– Language translations where the translation of words and phrases is done on a very micro level. The translator faces the issue of rendering the words or phrases that have more than one meaning. He/she has to consider the main context and do the translations.  

What Is Better, Humans or Machine Translation?

The argument is creating confusion in the heads of many clients. They have to think about various aspects before choosing what to go for and why. Of course, the answer is Human translators will always prevail over machines. Following are the reasons. 


1) The Contextual Accuracy- Human translators can assure higher contractual accuracy that the machines cannot. Humans do not just translate one word into another language. The humans know and understand the importance of the gist of the data. They study to grasp the same and brainstorm to match the same in the converted language. It reduces the chances of misinterpretation of the context.


If not 100%, the translator can at least produce the content with at least 99.9 % accuracy in the content. On the other hand, machine translators cannot perform these translations. The content that is translated by the machine scores low on contextual accuracy. There is more proofreading and editing is required by the human to achieve the best quality.


2) The Certification of Translations- Only human translators can issue the certificate of translation which assures that the translation that they have provided is authentic, accurate, and complete. When you are completely dependent on the machines, you will not receive this assurity from them. The machine will not be able to sign and stamp your translations. In cases such as legal, medical, or some industrial translations, it is mandatory to have the certificate of translations. 


3) You Cannot Afford the Inaccuracy–  When done from machines, the translations can come with many errors. To get these corrections done, you will again have to search for the correct person. This will cost you both time and money. It is better to invest both by hiring a suitable translation agency. There are various ways through which you can find a reliable translation service provider.


It is better to invest it once than paying double for it. Other than this, if you give mechanically translated inaccurate documents in business or legal matters, there are chances that you will get in trouble with legal discrepancies. Machines can misinterpret a few terms. If you present the same document there are chances that you will land in legal issues. 


4) Culturally Accurate– After all, you are doing the translation to target the market accurately. Localisation and translations can work miraculously well while marketing your business. Human translations can understand and experience cultural differences. Machines do not. So the biggest advantage of choosing humans over machines is that the translated content is accurate on cultural and religious backgrounds. This way you also connect with the audience culturally. This helps in retaining the customer for a longer period. 


5) Machine Translations Do Not Provide Apt Localisation– There are multiple new languages that are taking shape today. Even the older ones are evolving. There are new terms that are being added. Machines cannot trace that which humans can do. The human will manually have to update the tools to match up with the new changes.


Otherwise, the humans are already practicing it. In fact, they are the ones who are inventing it. It takes longer for the machines to get a hold of the new changes on a linguistic basis. Humans will always prevail in the localization process too. 


Summing Up- 

If you want accurate, authentic, and complete translations accompanied by the certificate of translations, choose only for human translations. It is as simple as that. Select a trustworthy agency that assures confidentiality and quick delivery at the same time.

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