Machine translation is automatic translation carried out by a computer. In recent years, it has become a widely debated subject. If you decide to implement machine translation into your processes, there are several things to take into consideration first.
There are several types of machine translation to choose from. To find out more about how machine translation works, have a look at our recent article. Below, you can find the general pros and cons of using machine translation.
In many cases, machine translation is extremely fast. The results are almost instant, and this means translations can be taken to market quicker.
Machine translation is usually a cost-effective solution, although advanced software can be more expensive.
As technology advances, machine translation becomes more accurate. But it still can’t be relied on for 100% precision. Human post-editors can review and edit texts to boost accuracy.
Sometimes machine translation simply isn’t up to the job. When it comes to creative texts, for example, machine translation can’t easily deal with nuances and cultural differences.
Neural machine translation software can be trained, but words and phrases that haven’t been translated before might not fit with a brand’s tone of voice.
Implementing machine translation
It’s important to only use machine translation in the right circumstances. Not all content is suitable. More factual, less creative texts work best. Otherwise, post-editors may need to spend more time fixing translations than they would have spent translating in the first place.
Spellchecking and proofreading are key steps in preparing text for translation. It’s also a good idea to think about a flexible layout that will suit texts of varying lengths. It can be useful to prepare a translation glossary, too. If you’re unsure, an experienced language services provider can advise.
Neural machine translation systems can be trained and adapted using data from your company or industry. This can take some time but usually achieves more accurate results.
Machine translation doesn’t have to be used in isolation. Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools can complement the machine translation process. These tools, including machine translation systems, sometimes all feature together in CAT toolkits.
For example, a translation memory is a database that stores segments of text and their translations. These segments can be used as suggestions for future translations. Meanwhile, a glossary lists pre-approved translations for specific words or terms, helping ensure consistency.
Machine translation alone doesn’t usually yield the best results. Post-editors with experience and training can work on a machine-translated text to improve accuracy and help retain the original meaning.
It’s important to use the best machine translation tools for your project. There are factors to take into consideration beyond cost-efficiency. Does the software fully support the language pairs you need? Which type of system does it use (e.g. neural, rule based, etc.)? Is it the latest version?
At Future Group, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality translations. We use the latest software and tools, follow tight quality control processes, and work with trained translators and post-editors.