Machine Translation versus Human Translation: The Good and the Bad

Machine Translation versus Human Translation

There are various ways to use online translation programs and applications in today's modern society. Recently there has been an increase in the market for machine translation services.

The issue with this is that machine translations can be superior to their human translation counterparts in a number of ways; however, they also have some downsides. Here, we will discuss where machine translations fall short and where human translation tends to shine.

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How Much Will It Cost?

The number one reason you will see people leaning towards machine translations is that most of the time it’s virtually free. Sure, you can find some programs or apps on the market that still charge you a small fee for translations, but large services like Google Translate can be used free of charge.

This makes it an ideal method when considering how much you want to spend in terms of budget. However, please keep in mind that just because something costs less, it doesn’t mean it’s quality work.

How Long Will It Take It to Translate?

When it comes to translation, there’s no doubt that machine translation programs are going to be significantly faster than a human's work would be. Machine translation services offer an almost instant delivery or a small waiting time of only a few seconds to minutes.

Just because they offer faster translation does not mean that it’s going to be efficient or accurate. Translations given back through machine translation services will usually have many errors and will need to be retouched up anyways if they’re going to be used publically.

How Accurate Is It?

One major issue with machine translation is that the accuracy is not going to be anywhere near perfect. This is because these programs are built upon certain algorithms that process only certain meanings for certain words. Another issue is that most of the time, you’re going to find people wanting to translate a project into English.

English and other main languages are already present in machine translations, so the translation process will be simple.

However, let's say that you’d like to translate a project in Chinese. You’ll discover too many errors in translation because these machines can only translate based off of literal words. This brings me to my next point…

Language Expression

If you want your translated work to make sense, you need language expression. This refers to the context the word is used it.

You probably know that not all phrases or contexts translate between every language. Some languages have their own phrases and cannot be reproduced in another language. That’s where translation services fall short.

Logic and Organization

Machine translations are also going to fail at logic and organization when compared to human translators. These translating programs do not have an AI high enough to be able to logically translate the language and reorder the wording for it to make sense. Instead, all they do is translate word for word as closely as they can and then hope the sentence makes somewhat sense.

On the other hand, humans are able to reword your work in another language so that it makes sense and flows logically.

Who Wins?

I’m not going to go straight to putting down machine translations as we have come far from where we started with these programs. But I still believe that they have a lot of tweaks that need to be made before they can be used on a professional and business-like scale.

So, obviously, the human translation will be the winner.