Machine translation (MT) is an emerging technology, and there still seems to be a lot of confusion of what can be done with automatic translation. This article highlights two useful ways to use MT.

A. Speeding up the work of a human, professional translator

Unlike some people may think, MT will not replace professional translators. However, it is a useful and efficient tool for translation professionals. The correct use of MT will enable translators to work faster without compromising quality. One way to do this is to use MT as dictionary. Going through thick, heavy dictionaries back and forth can be time-consuming. MT suggests terms, expressions and words in seconds.

MT post-editing is another way to work faster with MT. As a term, machine translation post-editing means editing the translated text manually after it has been automatically translated. The post-editing speed depends heavily on the quality of the automatic translation. The better the translation is the faster is the post-edit process.

B. Translating texts for own use

The most common use of MT is currently translating texts to one’s own use. Often MT is “better than nothing” and it usually helps to understand at least the general idea of a foreign-language text. However, one shall remember that machine translation is rarely 100% correct. Often there will probably be at least some tone and style issues.

In some cases the text-to-be-translated is very simple and written under very strict rules, These rules may, for example, apply to the vocabulary and sentence structures. When the text is simple-minded and reduced, MT usually produces relatively high quality. In case like this it is possible that MT could be more accurate than human, professional translations, but professional translators always reach higher fluency levels and more sophisticated style.


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