The idea of machines taking over humans has become quite prevalent these days. The word that is used to describe it is automation. It does not necessarily mean complete substitution though. It basically implies that humans and machines can work simultaneously, hand in hand. The workload is reduced and productivity is increased. Even in the field of translational firms, both human and machine type exists. Before going into the details about them and finding out which exactly is better, it is important to understand why translation firms are required in the first place. Only when this concept becomes clear, the utilities of it can be discussed more freely.
Business having global approach
Nowadays, most businesses have a global approach. They do not want to stay limited to a few places and have fewer options in front of them. However, this type of expansion and globalization means their entry into the local market as well. Whenever someone talks about localization, two important aspects come to the forefront, the culture and the language. Both are interrelated in some fronts. The main function of the translation firms is to take up the themes and messages of business and convert them into the local language. This has a different mass appeal to the local people altogether. Moreover, they can capture the potential customer base more effectively as they know specifically what works best for a local community and what doesn’t.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is the fact that what something might mean in someplace may not be the same in some other. In fact, it can be insulting or derogatory, making matters worse for the business as a whole. A good translation firm ensures that these kinds of debacles are completely avoided and the reputation of the business is intact. The local translation is important from various points of view. For example, if you are creating a website that is specific for a particular place or modifying a product so that it conforms to the specifications of a market, the proper translation is an absolute must. This is especially important for businesses that have a major international clientele and market. They should not shirk away from using the services of international translation services at any cost.
Now that the usefulness of a translation firm for a business is well determined, it is important to consider the two different types- human translation and machine translation. On a very basic level, the difference between them is very simple to explain. Human translation involves human manual workers doing the work using their own brainpower while the machine translation is done by machines using artificial intelligence.
It is not like machine translation has come to the market recently. It has been around for almost 60 years now. Google Translate is the most commonly used machine translation that is used these days which uses Artificial Intelligence appropriately. The best part about it is that it is free which is good for small translation jobs. Its credibility on a huge business scale is questionable. There are other machine translations as well as the Microsoft Translate and the Yandex. Translate. The big question is, which is better?
Human translation vs Machine translation
Simply putting it, the work of both the type of translation is the same. They help in the conversion of texts from one language to another, keeping the context in mind. What differs is the characteristic of the translation that they differ. There is a huge difference in opinion in this aspect. Some say that machine translation is extremely accurate while others feel that they add more problems than doing well by inappropriate conversions. Some people pass the judgment that human translation is more reliable and there is nothing that can take its place. There is no unanimity in this answer.
It is also because of the fact that the actual results are dependent on a number of factors like the language being translated and the region in question. The truth of the matter is that machine translation has gained considerable ground in businesses these days and it looks like it is here to stay. For example, if you consider subtitle translation services, it is mostly done using machines. The translation occurs at a very fast pace, something that human translation generally cannot match. However, with the increase in fluency, the chances of committing errors and wrong translation also increase. Therefore, it looks like a double-edged sword.
Now, this raises the next question, where does this leave human translation then? People with a futuristic mindset opine that it will soon become redundant as more and more people will switch to the automatic machine type. The optimistic lot does not agree though. They feel that the credibility of human translation can never lose their value. Maybe it is a good idea to make a human translator cross-check and proof-read the machine-translated texts so that no mistakes are guaranteed. There is also the matter of translation of marketing texts. Sometimes, when a message is being adopted for a particular place, it might need to be changed completely to make it more applicable. Machine translation is too technical and cannot do that. Thus, in scenarios like these, human translators are still the magnum opus. Someone who is really good with their work can keep their job secure.
Now again this raises a counter-question, why machine translation at all? If the business is not very high on a budget or needs the work to be done instantly, then machine translation suffices. There is no denying the fact that the labor costs will significantly reduce. Another key point, which can work in favor of machine translation, is the reproducibility. There will be some good translators and some bad translators from the human point of view. There result for the same translation might vary, sometimes significantly. Such is not the case with machine translation. The result will be the same every time.
No clear insight to the prospect
What is the answer then? Which is better? Which can be scraped? There is no clear cut answer here. Though machine translation is evolving at a rapid pace, it has not established itself completely as being completely accurate. It does need to be checked and edited by some humans for accuracy. Though it is pretty close to being as good as translation can get, there are some limitations that are not fulfilled and might be under the capacity of human translation only. Therefore, if you want the best results, it is always better to compile the services of both accordingly. There is no need to make a choice when you can get the best of both worlds for amazing results. If budget is your main concern, you may get inclined towards machine translation more. However, if you look at the bigger picture, if some disaster takes place, you have to spend a lot more to compensate for it. Thus, your choice should be a very conscious one.
Now that you know about machine translation and human translation in detail, it is probably a good idea to judge the pros and cons of it and come to a decision that will be best for your business.