Whenever you need document translation, you have two basic options to choose from human translation or professional translation software. Machine translation involves the use of specially engineered software such as Google Translate to convert text from one language to another. There has been a lot of debate over which is the best way to go when it comes to choosing translation services. Choosing whether to use machine translation or human translation depends on a number of factors.
What is machine translation?
First, it is important to understand machine translation since the concept of human translation is pretty obvious. There are web based or computer programs that you can use on your personal computer to create automated translation for documents in various languages. The software relies on language usage statistics and word submission to determine how to translate a document. Machine translation often tries to simplify human language as much as possible.
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Purpose of translation
Human language is sophisticated and complicated in construction. The problem with machine translation is that it reduces the construct to the bare bones of the language and this can hinder communication significantly. Therefore, machine translation is not suitable when you need 99% clear and accurate understanding in the target audience. It can be suitable for translating road signs or having conversations with international friends where simply getting the gist of the conversation is enough to keep communication going.
Human translation on the other hand is suitable for financial medical or legal documents that should be delivered in original document integrity and quality for full comprehension in the target audience. It would take a significant amount of intelligence to develop software that can deliver the quality of translation that can be delivered by humans.
Public facing content
Human translation is the best option when translating documents that are to be read by other humans. The translation experts have extensive knowledge of the source and target language. They can naturally recognize and integrate the subtleties of human language into their translations by considering aspects such as intended market, cultural context and target audience among other things. Public facing documents such as business advertising, legal documents or medical documents should be translated by human translation experts.
It is common for human translation experts to use some computer software to aid in the translation process. Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools helps the human translator in the translation process. CAT tools include Translation Memory Management tools and word processors. These tools have a considerable impact on the quality of professional translations as experts can use them to keep accurate glossaries, lexicons and terminology lists.
One of the reasons why many people may rely on machine translation is speed. It takes computer software just a matter of seconds or minutes to translate and entire document that it may take a human hours to complete. Machine translation can be suitable for fast projects, particularly; CAT makes the human translator work faster in delivering top quality and accurate translation rather than using machine translation alone.