Bad Machine Translation or Don’t You Just Know How Use It?

Is the machine translation always bad?We’ve all been there: blaming the machine translation for being too bad and unreadable. It’s frustrating when you get poor quality translation in an urgent situation. But if machine translators produce such an awful translation quality, why do they get millions of users every day? Can we really just blame the tool or are we barking up the wrong tree?

It is possible to produce high translation quality with machine translation. Sometimes machine can even reach the same translation quality level as human but it is still a relatively rare occasion. However, good enough quality is often enough. This is the case especially when the goal is to understand the core message of the text.

Machine translation is a great way to get a quick access to resources which are written with languages you don’t know, but it requires some knowledge to get the best possible quality out of the technology. The problem with automatic translation is that it’s a technology, and most of people tend to have some difficulties in learning how to use new technical stuff.

The quality of the original text is an important factor. If the original text has many flaws or grammatical errors or misspellings, a machine won’t be able to read it correctly. When the input is bad, so will be the output. Even a quick review with a spell checker can make a difference.  In a previous post, we have listed more simple tips to improve machine translation quality.

You shouldn’t give up and blame the tool when you have the chance to affect the quality. However, sometimes machine translation just isn’t good enough for the case. It’s impossible to say beforehand when this is the situation. Thus the simplest way to filter good translations from the bad ones is to use qualified machine translation.


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