As technology progresses, many language translation companies are turning to machine translations as a more ‘efficient’ method of working. Most people are aware of the dangers of using a machine translation. The nonsensical and inaccurate results for example. But what is the result when machine translations are edited and customised by professional linguists?

Before we can answer this question, just take a moment to consider the following. Would you rely on a machine to write your marketing material or legal contract? The answer, for most people, would be no. Since a machine can never grasp the multitude of nuances, ambiguities and technicalities involved in the writing process. So why use a machine to carry out language translation?

It is likely that even the most skilled linguists would have difficulty making a machine translation sound natural, without completely re-translating the majority of the text.

Take the following as an example:

Language translation - by Lingua Translations
“Une tour ou un Burj est un édifice plus haut que large.” (French)

Google translates the above sentence as:
“Burj tower or a building is taller than wide.”

However, a more accurate translation would be:
“A tower or a Burj is a building that is taller than it is wide.”

As you can see, the Editor would have to re-build the whole sentence in a different order to ensure it made sense. Which makes the whole machine translation seem pretty futile as no time is saved whatsoever!

We can safely agree then that ‘customised’ machine translations can only really be used to help a translator/editor identify specific vocabulary that they don’t already know, helping to eliminate time spent searching for terms in dictionaries. However, if you ensure that you use the most experienced translators, who only translate into their native language (as Lingua Translations does), terminology will never be a major problem, and the translator will need to check only very few words. Furthermore, there are a number of tools that already exist to help translators work more efficiently, such as CAT tools and the method of using glossaries.

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Call us old fashioned, but at Lingua Translations we prefer to offer our customers the human touch – when it comes to language translation machines just don’t compare! What do all you readers think?

Visit our language translation page for more information about the way we carry out our translations.