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Can machine translation help you in your daily work?

The development of innovative technologies has created many possibilities. The latest digital achievements can also support your daily work as a Translator. As long as you know how to use them and don’t consider machine translation to be a direct competitor. Find out more on how to use technological achievements in your day-to-day work.


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What is machine translation?

Let’s start with a bit of theory. Generally speaking, machine translation is simply a language translation based on an algorithm and translation memories. Various methods of machine translation can be mentioned here, the most popular one being the statistical method. It’s the most common one because it is used by online translators such as Google Translate and DeepL, etc. In this case, the translation process is based on an analysis of the translation memory and choosing the most probable translation.

Types of machine translation

The use of the latest digital technologies in translation can also be divided into three main types:

  1. Machine assisted translation, which means that the translator uses special software to simplify and speed up the entire work process.
  2. Human assisted translation, which means that the translator watches over the entire translation process by making adjustments before, during or after machine translation.
  3. Fully automatic machine translation that does not involve human interference with both the source text and the output text.

As a Translator, you can (and you should) use the first two types in your daily work. It is commonly known that theory is one thing but practice sometimes proves differently. How to implement this type of translation in the Translator’s daily work?

Work of a Translator and machine translation

The first method for utilising algorithms in your daily work is to choose the right tools. SDL Trados Studio is one of the most popular solutions in the field of machine translation. The advantage of this software is the fact that you use the broad archives of translation memory, co-created by all users since the creation of Trados. Unfortunately, this is a paid solution.

Free Trados alternatives

There are also free alternatives to Trados available. MateCAT is one of them. This fully-free software with its own translation memory is only available in the browser version. Other free alternatives to Trados are as follows:

  • OmegaT;
  • Zanata;
  • Lokalize;
  • LF Aligner
  • and many more.

Being familiar with translation memory-based tools is one thing. The knowledge and skills in using these solutions are something completely different. Although very helpful, such tools can also do a lot of damage when working on translations.

How to use machine translation?

As a Translator, you are probably aware of the importance of translation in communication. It is a basic service that enables people from different countries to contact one another. For this reason, as a specialist, you pay great attention to transparency, readability and correctness of the text you are working on. The same rule should be applied when using assisting software such as the examples mentioned above.

Whether using Trados or any of the free alternatives, you need to be aware of one very simple fact. When you type in or paste text into such a tool, the result you get is only a translation suggestion. In many cases such suggestions are far from being ideal. For this reason, your role as a Translator is to make these suggestions sound natural. Professionally, an indicator of the workload of machine translation is known as the “Post Editing Effort”.

Review and proofreading service of machine translation – an idea for an offer?

As a Translator, you can also take a marketing approach to machine translation. You probably know that many users use various types of online translators. The reasons may vary: translation for personal needs, low budget or lack of trust in a translator’s skills. So, since such machine translation is very popular, perhaps it would be a good idea to offer proofreading of texts translated this way? It is worth testing the idea in practice. Especially considering the fact that technology enabling automatic translations from one language to another has been developing at a high pace.

Can machine translation help you?

The key question is: can machine translation be your real competition? It all depends on your approach. Nevertheless, you can be sure that tools for machine translation will not replace the perfection of a human translator for a long time to come. The reason is very simple. Many texts are based on emotions and linguistic nuances that machines simply do not have. As a Translator, however, you can use them in your daily work to speed up the translation process, thus being more effective and efficient. You also have the opportunity to benefit from the development of these technologies for marketing purposes by offering review and proofreading services of machine translation. Everything is in your hands, literally!


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