Machine Translation is the process of changing text from one language into another language using an auto translator on a computer.
Websites advertise a lower cost for machine translation in a shorter period of time; therefore, more content can be translated in less time, adding that a human translator will edit the machine generated translation. A win-win situation, or is it?
Professional translators are not enthusiastic about editing a machine-produced translation. Often it takes more time to edit a machine translation than to translate from scratch. To produce a professional translation from a machine translation takes extra time, going back and forth to the original text in order to understand the output of the machine.
Despite great advances in technology and the addition of many new language pairs, these free machine translations are usable for casual translation only, to get the meaning or gist of the text, but not for commercial purposes.
Great strides are being made to improve machine translation, especially when it comes to certain domains and topics, like the weather, where glossaries are customized for these fields. However, the machine translation technology available now only substitutes words in one language for words in another. A simple sentence structure often results in a ‘close to perfect’ translation, but to produce a good translation whole phrases and their closest counterparts in the target language need to be recognized by the software to produce usable output.
To show an example of a machine translation, we used title on our home page and translated it into German, then copied the results into the field for translation and back translated it into English:
World Translation Center is a full service language translation company capable of handling any translation or voice recording project.
German machine translation:
World Translation Center ist ein full-Service-Sprache Übersetzungsbüro in der Lage, jede Übersetzung oder Stimme Aufnahme-Projekt.
Back translation of the German machine output into English:
World Translation Center is a full-Service-Sprache Ubersetzungsburo in der Lage, jede Stimme admission-Projekt oder Übersetzung.
And one short example machine translated into Japanese
We take quality very seriously and always use tested translators.
Japanese machine translation:
Back translation of the Japanese machine output into English:
We take quality very seriously and always use a test translation.
Technology might one day solve all the issues that exist with an automated translation, but we are not there yet. Challenges of understanding context, tone or any special expression by the software remain the reason why it is unlikely to replace human translators in the foreseeable future.