Translation has been around a very long time but today its importance has grown considerably as an essential device for business, company and customer communication all over the world. Traditionally those seeking translations simply found a freelancer capable of doing the job. However, today the rise of machine translation has meant machines replacing humans has only just begun as it starts to merge with human translators.

Machine Translations Won’t Replace Human Translators

One of the simplest and easiest to access is Google Translate. If you have ever tried it, it’s fine for simple everyday words, phrases and sentences, but if you try to get a good translation for anything else it shows there’s a marked difference between machine translation and human translation. Some of the translations are so bad they are virtually incomprehensible. No-one in their right mind would consider using a machine translation tool or app to do a translation of an important legal or medical document.

It’s certainly not good enough for a product manual. It’s okay to use to get the gist of the meaning of a text, that’s about all. There is little doubt that Google and Microsoft are quite serious about their automatic translation tools but their development is still in the early stages.

1. Why Machine Translation And Human Translation Are Not Interchangeable

When it comes to machine translation vs human translation machines can’t easily understand culture as different cultures have words and meanings so specific to their own cultures that there are no exact translations possible that can convey the same meaning. Machines aren’t yet programmed well enough to recognize or understand idioms and slang. Only a true human translator is able to pick out the difference as the machine translator only does direct word to word translations.

2. Machines Don’t Have The Capacity To Relate Words To A Context

In most languages, some words have more than one meaning and this isn’t understood by a machine translator. It’s the context of the word that often draws out the meaning of the text. For example, “tears” used in English may mean “holes in a piece of clothing” or “tears that flow when someone is sad.” The machine may pick up the two meanings but doesn’t know which one to translate into the targeted language. This is why machines replacing humans is not about to happen yet.

3. It Is Hard To Localize A Machine For A Different Language

Machine translators aren’t able to detect changes in language use in a language so if a new word is needed in a dialect it won’t be able to work out a translation for it but only human translators will know from knowledge the best word to use.

4. Machines Are Unable To Replicate Tone And Style

Each document that’s written has a different tone and style when compared to another one. A document could have a funny, poetic or persuasive tone and style but a machine translator won’t pick this up so the translation won’t be correct. It’s only a human translator who can match and produce a text which is similar in tone and style to the source text. Texts such as poetry and essays containing arguments are particularly susceptible to a poor translation.

5. A Human Eye Completes a Translation

However, when it comes to a machine translation and human translation once a translation has been completed by a machine, copy-editors and proofreaders will need to go over the translation to ensure its comprehensible. This is why there is no comparison when it comes to discuss a machine translation vs human translation.