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The pros and cons of machine translation

Human work continues to be invaluable in many situations and professions. However, artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly more advanced, developing almost on a daily basis. In many cases it supports human work and in equally as many cases it replaces it. One of such cases is the translation industry. Machine translation is a process that takes place without human intervention. What is it, what are the biggest advantages and disadvantages of such a solution?

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Automated translation – what does it involve?

The development of information technology improves life in almost every aspect. The same thing applies in the translation industry. One of the latest achievements in this area is machine translation, which is based on predefined algorithms.

The first machine translation applications and software of this type were not too accurate. This has changed dramatically in the recent years. Currently, such automated translations are supported by huge archives which are called translation memories, as well as by artificial intelligence. The algorithms on which Google Translate or DeepL are based are improved with time, ensuring more precise translations.

Types of machine translation

It is also worth noting that machine translation as such is a set of archives and rules that make automated translation possible from one language to another language. There are many ways in which machine translation is performed, but the three most commonly used are as follows:

·         Machine-assisted translation (or computer-assisted translation) – in this case, the translator uses special software so that the translation process takes less time and is more convenient;

·         Human assisted translation – here the content is translated by a computer and the translator verifies its correctness and revises any errors;

·         Fully automatic machine translation – in this case, the content is translated entirely by an application or software, without human intervention.

The key advantages of machine translation

Machine translation has many advantages. The primary one is the fact that it can be ready instantly. An application or software translates text that will be ready within several seconds. Normally, a human translator would have to spend a lot of time to translate the same amount of text.

Dynamic development of machine translation technology

It is also worth mentioning that the dynamic development of digital technologies has made modern algorithms very accurate, thanks to which machine translation has become more accurate. However, such technologies still cannot fully replace the work of a human, specifically in the case of more complex texts and documents.

Machine translation generates double savings

Machine translation also saves a lot of human resources, which is invaluable when a large amount of work is involved. It is much easier to proofread or revise several texts by one person than to translate them. Although this also depends on a particular case. Sometimes translations prepared by machines lose their actual context, so the person revising such text has to translate and rewrite the whole thing.

Money savings are also an advantage of machine translation. Do you want to read an article originally written in a foreign language? You don’t have to order its translation. Just copy and paste the text into Google Translate or DeepL, to name a few, and you will be able to understand it. Keep in mind that it will not be a perfect translation from one language to another, but in many cases it will help you get the general idea.

What are the disadvantages of machine translation?

Bearing in mind all the advantages of machine translation, however, it should not be forgotten that it is not a flawless solution. The main aspect to remember here is the fact that, after all, a computer is artificial intelligence and there is always a risk of error.

Automated translation conveys no emotions

The second important point is that machine translation may not work for specific content that uses irony, etc. Machines based on algorithms are deprived of any emotions that are of great importance in contextual translation. Without conveying emotions, the message contained in the text will in some cases be distorted. This applies especially to marketing content, but also to literary content or even Facebook posts.

Can machine translation be used at work?

It is also worth knowing how to use machine translations in a translator’s daily work. Such algorithms rely mainly on translation memories, which grow with the increasing use of such software. What does this provide you with when you are a Translator? You can certainly rely on translation suggestions when making your revision. This will significantly speed up the work and consequently, you will be more and more productive in your business.

Is it worth using machine translations?

Machine translation tools and algorithms are an invaluable simplification of the daily, time-consuming and demanding work of translators. They are also perfect for personal use, e.g. to translate content on a foreign website or social media posts. However, they should be used with caution, because machine translation has a high risk of error. You just have to remember that the result of such a translation should always be subjected to a critical evaluation, making the necessary revisions wherever necessary.

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