When should you use machine translation?

FOLLOW US ON LINKEDIN

Machine translation is the translation of text using professional translation software. Machine translation is often used when a lot of content needs to be translated quickly. To get the best result, the translation software needs to be trained with your company’s specific terminology. The more terminology that can be fed into the software the easier it is to ensure that the end result meets your needs.
Machine translation can be a very fast way to translate text, since in principle it does not require the involvement of people. But you should be aware that there are many things that machine translation software is unable to take into consideration, such as the text’s context, nuanced language and cultural aspects. This means that it may be necessary to have a translator carry out a post-edit on a machine-translated text.

Author: Laura Wangsgaard Jürgensen, Sales and Marketing Coodinator

WHAT POST-EDITING OPTIONS ARE THERE?

LIGHT POST-EDITING

When a machine-translated text undergoes light post-editing, the translator reviews the text for content error. The translator ensures that the meaning in the machine-translated text is the same as the meaning in the original text. The translator does not make stylistic corrections, which means that some sentences may have a slightly mechanical feel to them.

FULL POST-EDITING

Full post-editing means that the text is fully post-edited by the translator. The translator reviews and edits the text’s content, grammar and style, to ensure that it flows naturally. The translator also ensures that the correct terminology is used. By using full post-editing on machine-translated text, you achieve the highest quality.

ARE YOU CONSIDERING USING MACHINE TRANSLATION?

Machine translation is a useful tool and part of any professional translation agency’s toolkit. But it is important that it is used on the correct types of translation tasks. If you are considering using machine translation, you should include these points in your deliberations:

WHAT IS THE DEADLINE AND HOW MANY WORDS NEED TO BE TRANSLATED?

One advantage of machine translation is that many thousands of words can be translated relatively quickly. But it is important to remember that if the text must be post-edited, it will take longer before the final text is ready. Therefore, the decision should not just be based on the amount of time and the amount of words. The text’s purpose and complexity are equally important factors that you need to take into consideration.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE TRANSLATED TEXT?

It is important to consider the text’s purpose. The purpose of the text may help to clarify your needs in relation to its translation. Who is going to read the translated text? Is the translated text only intended to provide an understanding of the contents of the original text? Does the text have a short lifetime? Must the translated text be a precisely accurate version of the source text? The more precise the translated text must be, the greater the need for post-editing.

WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF COMPLEXITY?

The complexity of a text also has an impact on whether machine translation should be used. If your text contains long and complicated sentences or a great many specific terms, often there may be a need for post-editing, which means the translation process will take longer. The simpler the text, the easier it is for the software to translate the text.

This is an important factor with regard to machine translation. Another factor you need to consider is the quality of the translated text. A machine-translated text that has not been post-edited will with the current capability of the technology, not have the same high quality that a human translation will provide. This means that it is often necessary to post-edit the machine-translated text.

GET AN OVERVIEW: WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSIDER USING MACHINE TRANSLATION?

If you are considering using machine translation, talking with your translation agency first is a really good idea. Their experts will be able to give you advice about whether it will be beneficial to have your text machine translated, and they will help you to clarify any questions about language combinations, quality, etc., so that you can get the service you need.

WHEN IS MACHINE TRANSLATION THE SMART CHOICE?

  • When the texts are highly standardised.
  • Time is short – machine translation is faster than ordinary translation. This typically depends on how much post-editing needs to be carried out on the machine-translated text.
  • If the text is to be translated from or into English.