Since the beginning of the 21st century, many developments, changes and new technologies are introduced to the world market and have made life more simple. One of these technologies is machine translation, which is also known as Computer-Aided Translation, which is the use of software programs that have been specially designed to translate both verbal and written texts from any language to another language. Most of the time, machine translation is not enough alone because translation isn’t a simple replacement of words. With the rise of easily reachable machine translators, such as Google Translate, there is much argument regarding the benefits and drawbacks of machine translations. We will discuss in this article the pros and cons of machine translation based on our experience as a legal translation company in the UAE.
Pros of Machine Translation
First of all, it is extremely inexpensive. There are hundreds of free applications available to translate text, images, and written and spoken words by just clicking a button. The machine translators are very simple to use, with applications allowing words and phrases to be typed, spoken, photographed, or written on the screen. Machine translation is very fast, huge amounts of text can be translated in a few seconds, whereas a human translator takes a much longer time in translating such an amount of text. Machine Translation is easy to use; anyone can download a translation application or access a website. Machine translators mean that one program can translate hundreds of different languages and a huge amount of translation, a thing that one human translator can never achieve. So, machine translation is very useful for those who have huge amounts of text to be translated in a highly strict time.
Cons of Machine Translation
- The quality – as the applications produce inaccurate translations. Machine translators cannot understand texts or the complexity of the language used, e.g. metaphors and slogans, which leads to a word-for-word translation which sometimes makes nonsense, when translated into a different language.
- Literal Translation – A human translator recognizes where literal translation is not possible and finds the possible alternative based on his understanding of the text. Machine translators can’t solve ambiguity or any linguistic problem, while human translators can efficiently. For example, a missed or incorrect word in an original document would be noticed and corrected by any legal translator in Dubai, but the computer would translate the incorrect word literally without understanding or thinking.
- Lose of meaning – Machine translators always default to the simplest possible word choice and grammar, leading to losing the real meaning of the text. Machine translation is not culturally sensitive as machines can not experience cultures, so the translations produced may not be appropriately sensitive to certain values and norms of a culture
A professional legal translation company in UAE that knows and works with machine translation can help you understand your content and the quality required for your project so you can choose the approach which is best suited for your requirements. Let’s take a look at the options.
When to Choose Machine Translation?
You can choose to use machine translation in cases where a basic translation is sufficient, high quality is not important and time is the most important thing. Machine translation only can be helpful for internal needs or when you’re only looking for just the meaning. Content such as Facebook, Instagram comments, responses on blog posts, or questions from customers might be a good option for machine translation only.
As a translation company in Dubai with long experience in translation and localization services in Dubai, we have always encountered very strange translations in UIs. Eventually, it turns out that a developer ran a few words through Google Translate and the translations became nonsense compared to the rest of the content in the UI. This is a real issue – a project needs to be viewed and edited accordingly.
MT & Light Post-Editing
The next level includes machine translation plus light editing, which is done by a professional human translator to produce an understandable translation. It should be grammatically correct but the wording may sound strange. like it was produced by a computer, and it will not have stylistic nuances of the language. The level of quality should be decided before the post-editing occurs and these translators should be trained in best practices for post-editing. Minimizing costs and shorter schedules are the major factors leading to this choice.
You may choose to use this level of machine translation if you receive documents such as proposals or contracts, in which you need to make a decision quickly and don’t have time to wait for a 100% accurate translation or one with perfect style or tone. Another example is if you have large quantities of documents that are only needed for a basic level of understanding.
MT & Heavy Post-Editing
There is sometimes machine translation that entails a heavy post-editing, which is done by a reliable human translator, to produce high-quality content. If the content lends itself to machine translation, after the heavy post-editing, the translation should be well improved and appear to be closer to human translator quality.
You may choose this level of machine translation if you are not in a specialized industry and have long documents that you must produce for a product release, but based on research, you’ve learned that few people read the documents. This option may not work for some types of marketing content and website copy, where a sentence by sentence translation will not work because the content needs to be viewed completely. It also may not work for content, such as colloquial language, content with a lot of nuances, and highly technical content.
Professional Human Translation with Proofreading
This option does not have a machine translation. When quality and your brand are important, the best solution is to use a translation company that has professional, human translators and follows a rigorous process. This technology solution might apply to content like websites, marketing collateral, UIs, and technical translations where your brand might be lost if the content is not accurate and linguistically is not correct.
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Think about how your view of a company changes when you find a grammatical mistake on their website. If potential customers are viewing your website or marketing literature and see mistakes, they may feel that your company is not professional enough. They may think that your product is not a high-quality product. So, you must count on a legal translator in Dubai for all your sensitive documents.
Another case that entails the use of human translators is if you are in a highly regulated business or industry, such as the legal field, medical industry or pharmaceutical products. In a regulated industry, it might be risky to use machine translation since quality is very important.
Thus, these are the main advantages and disadvantages of machine translation for your projects. They can be weighed and the right decision can be made depending on the information and the quality which is required in such cases you can consult a reliable translation company in UAE to guide you to the most proper method for translating your projects after checking the type of your materials and texts. Alsun has a translation office in Dubai offering a wide range of translation services. We are always ready to serve you 24/7.