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10 Reasons to Avoid Machine Translations


In this day and age, businesses deal with companies from all over the world and as a direct result this means that they deal in a wide range of languages.

Translation is therefore extremely important in the 21st century business world. There is no point in having a website that overseas visitors cannot understand and also no use in a translation that fails to put across the message that needs to be conveyed.

Put quite simply translation has to effective and is something that has to be done correctly.

As you would expect there have been technical advancements in the field of translating texts with the introduction of machine translators. Machine translation is also known as Computer Aided Translation (CAT) and uses software programs which have been specifically designed to translate both verbal and written texts from one language to another.

However companies should definitely not rely entirely on machine translation and here are ten reasons why you should avoid using it.

1)    Machine Translation may have a low cost but cannot be guaranteed to do the job perfectly. For more efficiency it’s worth spending extra money on value-added translation services such as transcreation or copywriting. This takes notice of culture, puns, idioms etc.

2)    Machine translation depends heavily upon the subject matter in combination with the source and target languages that are being used. Yes you get a translation of the text but you cannot be assured that it is as accurate as the target reader(s) requires. Machine translation produces rough translations lacking dependability.

3)    Languages constantly develop becoming more and more complex and undergoing syntax changes. Because of this machine translation will always contain errors as they can’t keep up with real changes.

4)    Machine translation lacks the personal touch, it cannot equal the work of employees who have personal knowledge of the target language and can weed out errors.

5)    Machine translation is unable to translate non-standard language with the same accuracy as standard language.

6)    Limitations on translation from casual speech present issues in the use of machine translation particularly in mobile devices.

7)    Machine translations have a lack of knowledge of idiomatic expression. This caused a problem in Turkey when a machine translation correctly translated the words ‘milk’ and ‘port’. However it didn’t know that together they form an idiomatic expression that indicates calm. A human would have recognised this fact.

8)    Machine translation can only translate words and not meaning so would fail to differentiate between a manual showing you how to tune in your DVD and a Jane Austen novel.

9)    Machine translation follows systematic and formal rules so therefore cannot concentrate on a context and solve ambiguity. This means it lacks the ability to make use of experience or mental outlook unlike human translators.

10)    Depending on the machine translation algorithm used it may also be biased to some particular translation over other. This biases translations which based on the context might be less appropriate than other alternatives.

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