Machine Translation Vs Human Translation: Why the Vs?

Last Updated January 22, 2016

CAN you ever walk with just one shoe? Leaving the left foot bare while the right one is donned in shiny, slick leather seems so out of question, doesn’t it? Yet the same logic fails to prevail when you are deciding on the optimum way of approaching your translation miles.

Pause and ask some questions before you switch towards a single way of translation.

What Distinct Advantage Human Translation Brings: Points to Consider

  1. Would it reach all languages that I want to cover for all my prospects/categories/geographies?
  2. Would it capture the nuances, cultural references and subtle aspects of a particular dialect or culture strongly enough?
  3. Would it add value with insights and qualitative factors that only humans are equipped with? Would it bring in the ‘style’?
  4. What would be the competitive differentiator if the same machine or tool is available to my rivals too?
  5. Does it ensure consistency of those abstract shades that a brand stands for and those intangibles that have to be conveyed without going askew in multiple cultures?
  6. Will a machine-translated text (though grammatically or technically right on the skeleton) ensure the right flow that a given language requires (in other words, who will put flesh on those barebones)?
  7. Does an algorithm account for structural changes in different languages and also supply tones, undertones, subtexts that a given communication may need?
  8. What if the machine nails the language very well but lets the context slip through the cracks? Shouldn’t a marketing material have a different sound and silhouette than what a plain official correspondence would have?
  9. Who pays for the costly goof-ups that happen when ad-verbatim/word-to-word translations cast havoc on a brand’s reputation in a tricky region or sensitive culture? After all, the same word can have a different meaning or connotation in a different dialect?
  10. Professionals not only bring a native edge to the language but also the kind of treatment that is apt for a given task. Can machines match that?

How Machine Translation complements Human Translation: Points to Consider

  1. Yes, you may have a good army for brand-localisation experts in those war rooms. But why spend human resource’s time and bandwidth for simple tasks like determining the native language of a given document, or source-to-target translation – all that which algorithms can detect and do automatically?
  2. Why not use statistical engines for what they are worth?
  3. Tools are ready and instant to apply when the document or communication in question needs immediate action and not necessarily a precise one: Like gleaning the gist of a message or informal/casual communication. So why waste human energy there?
  4. Today’s machines are fast, agile and almost real-time for certain tasks and they come across as a cost-effective as well as a time-friendly medium for translation. Why not marry them with the human strengths well?
  5. Sophistication of tools can bring in new levels of speed and multi-lingual communication powers to the portfolio
  6. What if machines could handle the low-quality, high-volume, non-critical tasks of translation and humans can take over for final adjustments or filling in subtle gaps wherever required?
  7. Translation engines can and are being trained by human translators now. What if that can be optimised well?

There is a clear need and argument for welding both the subtle strengths and delicacy of human translations with the agility and torque of machines.

So choose an agency which can offer a well-heeled, full-service, well-rounded solution and expertise for your translation needs. March your brand with the right foot forward.

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