The Differences between Machine Translation and Human Translation
Written by Alexandru Tanase
When requesting translation services from one language to another to bring your business to new countries and generate growth, you may wonder: what is the difference between machine translation and human translation? With so many translation tools based on artificial intelligence out there, do you really need a human translator? The short answer is yes, human translation is always the best option, since machines are not able to replicate the knowledge, expertise, cultural competence, linguistic skills, and know-how of a human being.
Despite all the undergoing research carried out to produce better machine translation results, machine translation does not have the capacity to take into account any specific or general context. Therefore, it often introduces inaccuracies and ambiguities that did not exist in the source language. You can end up with low-quality translations, which can really impact your credibility, reputation, and professionalism. A human translator understands the local culture, linguistic nuances, dialects, context, cultural, and local expressions. As a result, human professional translators can provide much more accurate and high-quality translation services.
Machine translation tends to be either free or inexpensive. However, due to its lack of accuracy, you will eventually end up paying much more than intended and hiring a human professional translator. The reality is that human translation quality is currently unmatched and the only possible way to bring value and quality to your documents, applications, or web pages. When it comes to making this one-time investment, in the end, you pay for the value that you get, and it can be a waste of time and money to invest in machine translation that ends up being incomprehensible or nonsensical for your target audience.
Tone and voice
Human translation can be adapted to the tone and voice of your audience. Machine translation cannot know or understand your audience, so it cannot adjust the formality, style, or technicality of a text. Machine translation cannot reflect the voice, brand, or personality of your organization or company in another language. Professional human translators are trained and equipped with the tools to understand your message, values and uniqueness, and convey them appropriately to your audiences.
Machine translation tends to produce an incorrect and inconsistent use of terminology and expressions. For instance, Google Translate mixes formal and informal structures, changes the context, uses ungrammatical sentences, and creates confusing statements. That is because machines can only resort to a limited database of words to produce literal translations, without ever considering the context or the bigger picture: are we talking to a senior CEO or a child? Are we addressing men or women? A human translator knows all of this information, and is therefore able to deliver real translations for real people, while also using industry terminology correctly and sticking to the context at hand.
It is highly recommended to work with a human translator from the start instead of trying any type of machine translation services and then dealing with those consequences. The truth is that nothing compares to working with a human translator when it comes to content quality, ease of reading, and appropriateness in communication. AI-based translation is currently defective, and in the end, you will still need to invest in a professional translator to help you improve the quality of your translations. Human translation surpasses machine translation by a long shot and it is the best option to produce high-quality content in another language!
At Argentum Translations, we use a translation process with three different human professionals who will give you the best quality available. You can learn more about it in this article about our translation process or watch our video to see how we work. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today for a quote!